favors

Great Goodie Bags: My Top 5 Favor Ideas

As a general rule, I’m a sucker for a great gift (big surprise). What makes a “great gift” though–that seems pretty broad. To me a great gift has three principles nailed:
– Relevance: the right gift for the right person, on the right occasion, in the right season, (and if this is really a practical gift, you could also call this Usefulness)…
– Timelessness: it’s so quintessential to the recipient that it will still be special to them years from now
– Sentiment: a theme has been encapsulated (often subtly, which is best) that transcends the object and brings the recipient back to another time and place instantly
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I Heart Psychics

20130904-220331.jpgI believe in psychics and mediums. Feel free to judge, roll your eyes, laugh or anything else you feel may be necessary. I’ve encountered all that and worse. A while back I was taught not to hide or be ashamed of the things I truly believe in, and this is one of those things. I also understand that it is not for everyone, and I have no judgement or scorn for those who feel differently.

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Oscar Party Ideas: Award Show Inspiration

20130217-222250.jpgI love award show season…LOVE IT!

I watch the Pre-shows, the red carpets, the awards shows themselves, I cry, laugh, eye-roll and yell at the TV (in the same way men do during football season) at the acceptance speeches and winner disclosures and I absolutely watch the fashion wrap-ups. Now it’s not every esoteric one. I limit it to the Golden Globes, The SAG Awards, The Grammys, The Emmys, The Oscars and, of course, The Tonys. The Grande Dame of all of these–I actually have two but Grande Dames but not everyone agrees with me, major props if you can guess my #2–is The Oscars.

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Photo-Fun Birthday Party

One of my very favorite group shots, they all look so psyched.

Last week my daughter turned twelve, and every year we do two parties: one for friends and one for family.  My daughter is an  incredibly creative spirit and has always liked her parties to reflect her personality and what she’s currently obsessed with–this is always a (fun) challenge for me, the Mom, as we attempt to find something unique, fun and thematic to her tastes and passions.  We started by going through her favorite things–theater, art, music–and talked about a few different ideas for each: taking friends to a Broadway show, doing a karaoke thing (again–Oh No!), or doing an art themed celebration.  And then I remembered her love of photography. She’s on Instagram, takes pictures of EVERYTHING and as soon as I mentioned it, she was game! But how to have a “Photography Party”? Good question.
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Halloween Inspired Gifts

20121007-111243.jpgWhether you’re going to a Halloween party, hosting one of your own and need favors or want some Halloween themed gifts for a birthday or other fun event, this is a fabulous time to get thematic with spook-tackular treats, accessories and more. I’ve selected confections, hostess ideas, personal accessories, books and movies that incorporate one (sometimes more) of my favorite Halloween themes: spiders, skulls, black cats and pumpkins. I’m still not sure how we are going to celebrate–house party, trick or treating or going to a local block party–but you’ll be one of the first to know, of course, and would love to know about your Halloween traditions in the comments.

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My Casual (But Perfect) Wedding

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As I’ve mentioned a couple times here (feel free to eye roll or nudge anything with in reach with a ‘is she serious…a couple times?’), my husband and I are about to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. I think this milestone feels so miraculous because it was so unlikely. Our pairing was unlikely, I mean. At least initially (boy am I botching this up, huh?). Once it happened, it immediately felt meant to be and all the pieces fell into place, however, not without complexities. I was a divorced mom of two little ones, aged five (almost six) and three, he was newly committed to continuing education, a full-time student and embarking upon a new career. Oh, right…and he had been a life-long bachelor. To many in the outside world, these lives and lifestyles seemed disparate and “not for long.” Then a month, three months, six months passed and Hubby Man, as I affectionately call him here and everywhere, were still together and committed–or we probably should have been.

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Unique Place Card Holders (as Favors)

Nothing gussies up a table like place cards and a holder can serve a couple functions. There’s the obvious, of course, but some holders can be favors transforming into paper weights or picture frames after your guests have gone home. I had gold cherubs at the dinner party following my wedding which today holds a small family photo on our coffee table. This last Christmas Eve I used little snowflakes on my table that held a mini Polaroid photo my kids snapped of each guest as they walked through the door paparazzi-style. Guests took their snowflake and photo home as a keepsake. But that was then… These are place card holders I’m looking at for future dinner parties (or fantasizing about). Psst… Look for any savings opportunity marked with an asterisk (* or **), details in the footer.

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A Birthday (Crab) Bash

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When I was a kid, my father began a very cool tradition for my birthday. I’m a July baby, which made me a Cancer–the sign associated with the crab–so every year we would go to a restaurant, called Sidewalkers, where they served a Maryland-style crab-bash. If you don’t know what a Maryland-style crab-bash is, you’re missing out. Basically you sit at a table covered with brown paper, then they dump a whole bunch of seasoned crabs in the center of a table (bibs are recommended). You are armed with a mallet, cracker and small fork and then you go at it.

The last time I celebrated my birthday in this way was 1997. It was the last time my Dad was alive for my birthday. I was 22. The morning after that celebration–about twelve hours later–he had a seizure caused by a brain tumor that he didn’t know he had and he passed away just eleven weeks later. It was the last celebration I had with him before everything changed and was the end of my birthday crab-bash tradition. That was fifteen years ago.

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Wedding Shower Ideas

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I must confess, most of my friends are past the wedding stage–although a handful are in the second marriage stage–but planning a wedding shower is one the most amazing things you can do for a friend and today there are so many more options for revelry than when I first got married. The list below includes some I have personally tried, but first a few questions to ask yourself:
– How adventurous is your friend?
– How many other showers will there be?
– What special interests or hobbies does the couple (or just your friend) partake in?
– Are you inviting family? How open-minded are they?
– Are you trying to make this a surprise?

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A Summertime Tea Party: Favor Ideas and More

I love having parties and gatherings celebrating special moments and it’s so fun when activities can be fun take-aways along with thematic party favors. Last summer I threw my mother a 65th birthday party. I wanted it to feel intimate and draw on themes that felt special to her so, of course, I looked to her likes and interests for inspiration. She loves tea, she’s an artist, a little quirky (in a good way) and her birthday usually falls right before Labor Day–the last official weekend of summer. I had the start of something good, I thought…now I just had to pull these pieces together and create a memorable event for my mom and our guests.