Thursday, June 30, 2011

4th of July Party Favor

Here is an easy and cute party favor for the 4th of July that everyone will love! Stack M & Ms or Skittles in tall, skinny cellophane bags. I alternated layers of patriotic red and blue candy.

The possibilities for this idea are endless. It's a perfect favor for any theme, color, or type of party.  Just coordinate the candy color and tag with your theme, tie on a pretty bow, and you'll thrill your guests.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Preppy Ping Pong

You'll be the envy of the table tennis set with the Trina Turk ping pong set.
Ping Pong is the quintessential preppy game you’ve played your entire life. As a child, you might have spent afternoons by the camp store or at the pool playing ping pong. In college, you added a few red party cups and the game took on a whole new twist. Lately, ping pong has been making a comeback in a big way.

Ping Pong parlors are popping up all over the place and are a great way for people of all ages to spend an afternoon or evening. It’s not uncommon to see a child’s birthday party, a group of college students, and a couple on a first date playing all playing ping pong in between their pizza and drinks.

Trina Turk's ping pong paddles show your personal style. Don't you love them? 
But you’re probably thinking. Is ping pong really preppy? Of course it is! One of my favorite summer prints from Lilly Pulitzer is Spin the Bottle. This print has everything you need for an afternoon of preppy fun, including ping pong paddles and balls. It’s a print that makes me think about my high school and college days. I was wearing the uniform, too. Boat shoes, Wayfarers, and pearls. Spin the Bottle has it all in the print.

What are your favorite preppy games? Did you play or do you play ping pong? What games remind you of lazy summer afternoons?


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

4th of July Fashion

It’s almost the 4th of July and you probably have plans that will keep you busy during the day and at night. So what should you wear? Now is the time to see how your 4th of July outfit coordinates with your plans for the day. Whether you’re spending the day at the beach, the pool, or a party, you will want to show your patriotic style without looking like you’re wearing the flag. I’m always amazed at people who don their most patriotic things (think shiny star sunglasses and sweaters that have lights) on national holidays…the results are almost always oh so regrettable. 

Here’s an option that is a perfect choice for an outfit that can transition from day to night. The strapless dress is gorgeous and can be dressed down with cute McKim sandals or dressed up with strappy sandals for night. If there’s a cool summer breeze, grab a shawl to throw over your shoulders and you’re set!  Use the preppy tote to carry all of your goodies during the day and swap it out for a more elegant clutch at night. 

4th of july

4th of July Shopping List

What are you doing on the 4th of July? What are you going to wear?


Monday, June 27, 2011

Cake Pop & Cupcake Tower

Cake pops and cupcakes are incredibly popular treats for a candy buffet or sweets table. When I was planning the minnies’ pink and green candy buffet, it was a challenge to display the cake pops and the cupcakes together. In the end, I placed the cupcakes on a 3 tier tray and the cake pops in little containers.

The small cake pop tower from The Cupcake Tower is a perfect solution for a candy buffet with cake pops or a combination of cake pops and cupcakes. The three layer tower can hold up to 92 cake pops or 72 cupcakes. What I love about this tower is that it is incredibly versatile! You can reverse the layers to a flat side for cupcakes or use the side with holes for cake pops. No worries about storage, either. After the party, simply wipe the laminate coating of each layer and disassemble the cake pop tower to store flat in even the smallest space.

Decorate your cupcake tower with ribbon to match your party theme. Easily remove the ribbon and replace it with other colors for another event.

I wish I would have found this party planner’s treasure before the party this spring. But I’m certainly going to put my small cake pop tower to good use in the future. The possibilities are endless.



Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekend Wishlist: Elegant Elephants

elegant elephants

Elephants are one of my favorite animals for clothing and design.  Everything is cuter with an elephant on it.  The elephant tote from Kate Spade is at the top of my wish list right now.  Absolutely adorable. 

In many cultures, elephants are seen as a symbol of wisdom.  You know the expression "an elephant never forgets."  Well, it is actually true.  Elephants traditionally follow the same travel patterns and paths throughout their lives and pass this information to their posterity.  They have excellent memories.  Elephants are believed to be as intelligent as dolphins and primates. 

If I can't have my Kate Spade Elephant Tote today, there's still hope to add an elephant to my collection today!  You've probably heard that Lilly Pulitzer Home is featured today on RueLaLa at 11:00.  Most of you are already members of this sample sale site, but don't worry.  Here's your invitation if you need one.  Read my helpful tips for making the most out of RueLaLa and strategies for getting the items that you want. 

Maybe I can pick up some cute Lilly elephants in the Taboo pattern at today's sale.  For now, that will have to do! 

Elegant Elephants Shopping List

$175 -

Elephant Table
$765 -

$60 -


Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Scooter Incident

Natalia had an accident on her scooter. It was pretty dramatic. My girls love to play on their scooters and ride their bicycles, but they’re not huge risk takers and had not ever gotten hurt before this.  No lie. Not a skinned knee, no major falls, nada. 

So when Natalia decided to try to jump across the neighbor’s driveway while speeding downhill for the first time, it didn’t end well. She scuttered up one entire side of her body. Her knee, elbow, and hand were a mess, but that was not the worst part. Her shirt had lifted up when she fell and her entire side was scraped from her waist to under her arm. And it looked pretty bad.

After a shower to clean up, Natalia was treated with a variety of fabulous high tech multi-sized band aids, some with antibiotic on them, some for sensitive skin, and some that were waterproof. "Very advanced," she said, as she referred to the high tech band aids.

As we were talking, Natalia asked me if anything like this had ever happened to me.

And then it hit me. When I was her age, things like that happened to me ALL. THE. TIME.

Life was certainly different when I was little, but somehow I managed to make it to adulthood and I look fondly on my childhood. My friends and I would ride our bikes for miles (sans helmet) and arrive home for an afternoon snack or dinner at one of our houses. From time to time, I would fall and have to make it home with skinned up knees.

Getting hurt at home was not fun, but getting hurt at school was terrible! No fate was worse than a trip to the school nurse after getting a scrape at school. The nurse would get out her can of Mercurochrome spray that stung when it went on my cut and turned my skin an ugly reddish-orange shade. Yes, the mercur- root means that this antiseptic that contained mercury was also toxic.  I would rather clean my cut with some soap and water in the bathroom than go to the school nurse. 

Natalia’s eyes were filled with horror and disbelief when I told her about this.

Lucky for her, I saved the stories about rusty playground equipment without padded ground and metal chains on swings that always seemed to catch a finger or two for another day. 

We survived all kinds of things in a wonderful world that would be considered unsafe by today’s standards. I sometimes wonder what is worse…taking risks in life, or not taking any chances and being afraid of what might happen.   My BFFs and I explored for hours by ourselves without the benefit of cell phones, sweet scented antibacterial hand sanitizer, and we even drank water from the hose.  And we survived! 

You'll be happy to know that Princess Natalia is on the mend and is back on her scooter.  Both girls have a little bit of a thicker skin after the experience and want to explore the world a little bit more, although they're pretty terrified about the mercury-laced spray.  No worries, girls.  Your friendly school nurse can't even give you a cough drop without 75 stamped and signed forms!
What was your childhood like?  Did you play outside for hours with friends?  Do you think today's generation is more protected than previous generations?


pictures via my pinterest

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bet You Can't Eat Just One

During the summer, I look forward to Friday because I pick up our CSA subscription from my friends at The Big White Barn Produce. Every week during the summer and fall, I get a box of fresh produce that has around 8 farm grown items in it.   This year, members get an extra bonus of fresh cut flowers, too!

It’s a fabulous way to get my minnies to eat some vegetables and sometimes the produce items are new to me! Before last year, I had never tried swiss chard and now I love it. And kale? Kale was something I associated with a bad cafeteria lunch circa 1985.

But kale is delicious and oh so nutritious. You just have to know how to prepare it. Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook, My Father’s Daughter, has some fantastic recipes that I love, so when I saw her recipe for kale chips, I decided to give it a try.

Here’s Gwyneth’s recipe for kale chips
1 big bunch kale, stems discarded and leaves torn into roughly 1 ½ inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. Toss the kale with the olive oil and spread out on two baking sheets.
3. Sprinkle with coarse salt and roast for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned and crispy. 

My experience:

I rarely leave a recipe as is and usually modify it when I prepare it. For this recipe, I used an olive oil mister and sea salt and added a little Old Bay. My oven may run hot, but I baked the kale for less time; you should check the kale at 10 minutes. You can also make these with swiss chard or spinach.

The kale chips were delicious. My minnies and I ate 2 trays of them in one sitting and they asked for more.

Yes, children asked for more kale!

I am eager to see what goodies Anita and Steve have for CSA members in this week’s box! Learn more about Big White Barn Produce and CSA on their website or fan page on Facebook. They’re planning a fun Tomato Festival again this year. Watch for more details in the next few weeks.

What vegetables do you enjoy during the summer?  Have you ever tried kale or swiss chard? 

Have a great day!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's a Beautiful Day!

Last night, I saw U2 in concert at Ravens Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. The special lighting and visual effects of the show were beyond words amazing. It was the best concert I’ve ever seen. The band played for more than 2 hours and played some of my favorites. Elevation was probably the best performed song of the night.

This security sign made me chuckle. The security briefing probably went something like this. “Ok guys, when you’re checking bags, remember…NO LACROSSE BALLS. I repeat, NO lacrosse balls.” “Fanny packs? Yeah, they’re ok, but watch out for those Marylanders and their lacrosse balls.” Only in Maryland will you find lacrosse balls at the top of the list of prohibited items.

Although severe traffic had been predicted for the event, we made it to the concert without any major delays, had the best seats, and thoroughly enjoyed every moment. Everything was perfect.  All of the concert goers can thank me that it didn't rain...This pink and green Girl Scout came with poncho in tow and kept the rain at bay.  It was truly a beautiful day!

It’s even better to get home from an amazing concert just in time to do some online shopping! Many Lilly Pulitzer Via Shops are having special 2 day sales with outstanding prices for resort and spring items. Some stores are offering free shipping, too!

To make the shopping deal even sweeter, Vineyard Vines is offering a Friends and Family discount right now. Simply enter the code FRIENDS at checkout.

Happy Shopping. 
It’s a Beautiful Day!


Style Icon: C.Z. Guest

C.Z. Guest, born Lucy Cochrane, is the ultimate preppy icon. She is known for her classic, simple style with clean lines that are always elegant. Marrying a polo player and member of the Guest family is oh so preppy and put C.Z. Guest in the spotlight in American Society as well as fashionable international circles. She quickly became well known as a socialite and enjoyed this recognition, posing for pictures and giving interviews to society newspapers and magazines. Her style landed her on many best dressed lists. C.Z. Guest said that, “Style is about surviving, about having been through a lot and making it look easy.”

Of course, having BFFs that include Diana Vreeland and Babe Paley helps C.Z. Guest rank pretty high on the preppy list, too. Her life seems so exciting, almost like a riveting fiction novel, except that it is real. While jetsetting around the world with friends, she lived her life to the fullest. She was married in Cuba with Ernest Hemingway as the best man and counted princes and princesses among her closest friends.

Even though she was a high profile member of society, she possessed a casual elegance that made everyone around her feel comfortable. Whether in the garden or in the ballroom, she exuded a carefree style that only a true fashion icon can have.    Her style is timeless.  If you look at pictures of C.Z. Guest from any stage of her life, as a new socialite bride or as a cancer survivor, her style translates to a look that is considered stylish in any decade.  She could turn a simple shift dress into the perfect look just by tying a scarf around her neck. 

She was painted by Diego Rivera, Salvador Dali, and Andy Warhol.  Slim Aarons also loved to photograph this classic American icon.  Isn't this the most perfect image? 

What do you think "makes" a style icon? What characteristics should a style icon possess?


all pictures via pinterest

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Stitch in History

Recently, I had the honor of seeing and stitching the National 9/11 Flag. This flag is a powerful symbol of The American Spirit and represents hope for the future. Just as the flag flying in the Maryland harbor inspired Francis Scott Key to write our national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner, this flag is an inspiration to me.

The flag was destroyed in the aftermath of the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Slowly and carefully, it was stitched back together seven years later by tornado survivors in Greensburg, Kansas. The flag made a stop in my town as part of its journey across the United States. The goal of the journey is to display the historic flag at important places across the country while empowering local service heroes representing the 50 states. Honorees have the privilege of stitching the flag back to its original 13-stripe format. During and after its completion, the National 9/11 Flag serves to inspire Americans while deepening our sense of citizenship and national pride.

My Daughters of the American Revolution chapter took part in the Official Stitching Ceremony. There was a tear in my eye as I proudly signed the guest book and stitched the flag. It meant so much to me. Each state will be represented on the flag by one square, stitched by local residents. 

Here I am making my stitch in history

After the ceremony, I helped to prepare care packages for soldiers who are serving our country overseas. It was a lot of fun to prepare stacks of priority mail boxes for the servicemen and women who are serving our country far from home. 

It is a true honor to participate in this once in a lifetime privilege of helping to restore this important part of history.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Mix Tape

Happy First Day of Summer! Celebrate the first day of summer by wearing your Lilly because it’s also National Wear Your Lilly Pulitzer Day.

Of course, wearing Lilly isn’t too difficult for me, since I wear Lilly almost every day, especially during the summer. The Worth Shift is a favorite Lilly Pulitzer dress in my closet and I love the Originals print Multi Summer Mix from Summer 2011. Adorable multi colored mixtape cassettes make up this fun retro print.

Another fantastic choice in this print is the Original Tote. It’s large enough for everything you need at the pool or beach, yet small enough that you could carry it around town. I love all of the pockets and pouches that help keep everything organized.

There’s something so nostalgic and special about a mixtape. In college, my mixtapes always had a theme. The songs were artfully arranged to tell a story; to share a theme with the recipient. I had the mixtape down to a science and there were all kinds of silly, self imposed rules.

Flash forward a decade or so, and although the medium has changed, there is not much difference between an old school cassette mixtape and a mixtape ipod playlist. Some kinds of mixtape are standards in every collection.

Mixtapes You Need
~ Party Mix
~ Summer Mix
~ Workout Mix

Just like a great mixtape, wearing Lilly makes me happy and instantly puts me in a good mood. Today, I’m going to play my favorite summer mix in my Lilly and make it a fabulous start to summer.  To make it even better, I'm going to have lunch at the American Girl cafe with the minnies, one of their BFF's and one of my BFF's.  A perfect day!

What Lilly are you wearing today? What songs do you have on your favorite mixtape?


Images via Lilly Pulitzer and Pinterest.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Vineyard Vines Outlet

This weekend was big for grand openings. First, there was the American Girl Store at Tysons Corner Center. The Vineyard Vines outlet also opened its doors at Leesburg Corner.

Natalia immediately recognized the familiar whale logo from a distance of about 50 feet. Good eyes, my girl!

Many outlet stores sell items that are made especially for outlet stores. At Vineyard Vines, all of the items are from current or past seasons and are exactly the same as what can be found at retail stores or online.

In the front of the store, Vineyard Vines is divided in half. One side has men’s clothing and accessories. The other side is devoted to women’s pants, skirts, shorts, dresses, and more. I was surprised to find a large selection of boys and girls clothing in the back part of the store.

This season, one of my favorite Vineyard Vines looks is the pineapple patch short, skirt, and skort in adorably preppy pink, white, and blue. You can find these items in stores now, so I was thrilled to find the shorts…with a price tag of $35!

My mother always says that a sign of good quality is that the plaids, prints, or patterns in clothing should line up at seams or pockets. This might sound like a minor detail, but it’s extremely difficult to find lately…even in upscale brands. The pockets of the Vineyard Vines shorts with matching plaid squares might have taken a little bit more time to construct, carefully matching squares of fabric and stitching at just the right place; but these details reflect the true quality and craftsmanship of Vineyard Vines clothing.

Ties were a hot seller at Vineyard Vines on opening day. My friend Caitlin says that the day before Father’s Day at a tie store is like Black Friday at any other store. There are a myriad of ties at the outlet store and prices are excellent!

Other popular choices for men are belts and hats.

Belts, flip flops, and other accessories for women are also available. Again, I spotted many current season accessories in the store, with prices about 40-50% off retail. There is a large selection of tote bags in several sizes in addition to larger overnight bags.

The selection for children was excellent and I was thrilled at the special promotion at the outlet. All girls items are buy 2 get 1 free. Some of my favorites were the little patch skort and ribbon dress.

The computer system had some opening day glitches and all credit card orders had to be processed by hand. It was a large line by the time I got in line to pay, but everyone was very understanding and patient. No one really complained at all…we were all thrilled to be at the store that computer problems didn’t matter. Natalia was thrilled to add another whale sticker to her collection and remarked that it can go on her binder for 5th grade!

If you’re in the DC area, I highly recommend a stop at the Vineyard Vines outlet. It’s well worth the trip. The Vineyard Vines Outlet is in Leesburg Corner in Leesburg, Virginia. The Vineyard Vines outlet is located close to Old Navy. You have several options for parking. I would park by Williams Sonoma and walk up the row of stores. Alternatively, you can park on the side lot and enter the shopping center close to Old Navy.

What is your favorite Vineyard Vines item?


PS Be sure to check out my fabulous Vineyard Vines Christmas Ornament giveaway here! There are lots of ways to enter to win. Good luck!


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