29 December, 2011

Designer Love: White by Vera Wang Spring 2012

Bridal giant Vera Wang continues to provide her extraordinary designs to brides everywhere with the White by Vera Wang line, exclusively for David’s Bridal.  This groundbreaking line features bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses, accessories and shoes.   This season’s brides will find nine new gowns, priced between $500-1500.  And let me tell you, all the classic Vera Wang elements are there.  

The bridesmaid dresses are really pretty stunning.  Again, you can expect all the things that make the Vera Wang Bridal brand great: updated silhouettes, contemporary cocktails dresses and chic variations on the theme.  The best part?  No gown is priced above $200.
The White by Vera Wang Shoe Collection features chic options for spring and summer.  Expect to see bow details, sling back open toed heels and rich, delicious fabrics.  Shoes are available in sizes 5-12 (half sizes 5.5-9.5).  All shoes priced under $100.

From the XO, Vera Wang Newsletter:
                        “It gives me great pride to be able to bring my designs to more women through White by Vera Wang. The collaboration with David’s Bridal is the perfect marriage of our abilities, both from a business and creative perspective.”

Here area few of my favorite pieces from the new line:

 Oooh!  I'm loving this dress from the 'maids line.  I am such a sucker for that amaaahzing fabric detail on the skirt.

 My two favorite gowns of the line.  Look at the lines on that floor length, would 'ya?!  Brilliant.  The more of these chic, short bridal gowns the more I'm loving them for Spring.  Can you imagine that little number in a tranquil garden setting...or a luscious gallery wedding?  Love!

A little shoe representation!  I'm really a fan of the bow detail on those strappy black heels.  They're a total steal for $88.  Oh, and sparklies!!  I love sparklies! 

Also new for this season, the number of stores carrying the line has increased to 250.  I'd check to see if your local branch is one of the 250...

15 December, 2011

Holiday Cheer in a Pinch: Paper Chains

Paper chains are some of the most easily recognizable and iconic homemade decorations.  I love them because they remind me of when I was a kid and how much I loved helping my Mom trim the tree and decorate the house for Christmas.  I think this is the perfect holiday craft to do with the littles.  It's fun easy, affordable and safe enough that kidlets can really take the lead.

Materials needed:

-scotch tape (both single and double-sided)

1.  Gather your paper.  Magazines, books, gift wrap, metallics, construction paper, sheet music…don’t be afraid to get creative.  As long as the paper you’re using in your chains is roughly the same weight, feel free to mix it up a little!

2.  Cut paper into strips.  Keep in mind, the size of your strips will determine the size of your links.  I tend to make my strips wide enough to get about 5-6 strips out of an 8.5 x 11 page.  Tip: Consider coordinating colors mixed with pops of metallics for a modern twist.

3.  Tape ends of link together, making sure to interlock links as you go.

4.  Hang with double-sided tape.  Easy peasy.

As you can see, I've added a fun little foil snowflake for a little more zazz.  Feel free to jazz up your own chains!

Let's Hear it For the Boys: Holiday Edition

So, today my blog has been hijacked by someone we all know and love: The Hubbs. He's decided to lay a little dude knowledge on us. It's a touch wordy, y'all...but so totally worth the read. He's kinda funny...when he's not spray painting into the wind (another story....and a good one).

Take it away, Hubbs! 

P.S.  You'll have to excuse the photo...I don't have any pictures of manly gifts...yet.

Holiday Gift Guide: Dudes Edition

So let’s be honest, men are probably a little hard to shop for. We buy the tools we need half ways through the day we planned to build something, we pick up DVDs like apples at the grocery store, when we’re thirsty we buy a $50 bottle of tequila and basically we don’t talk about much stuff and junk so you’re left guessing what we might want. I get it. Perhaps I can start to help you in your (last minute) crunch to scratch off that picky Brohan on your Christmas list…

The top of the list goes only to those guys out there that were really good this year. Or hell, maybe you can just get rid of him for a few days. Where? Where else? Las Vegas of course. I know it’s a little (or, a lot) pricey, but a cursory glance at www.lasvegasgolfgetaways.com gives a starting point at about $1400 for round-trip airfare, 3 days,4nights and greens fees at some of Las Vegas’ top links. Need even more stocking stuffers? Some perennial standards of the masculine DVD variety include such vintage classics as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Leaving Las Vegas, 3000 Miles to Graceland and Ocean’s 11.

You’re obviously not a golfer. HAHAHA! High Five for TBL reference! (The Big Lebowski) I would put that on a list by itself, but he already owns it. All men do. It’s just one of those guy things. Moving on, perhaps your guy prefers to sit quietly and read. Maybe he just really likes drinking. Either way, “Beers of the World,” by Michael Jackson (not, THAT MJ…) is considered by many the world over to be THE definitive reference guide to most things beer. Not enough? He also wrote “Beer Companion,” “Ultimate Beer,” and “The World Guide to Whisky.” Just to name a few. If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want to drink high quality single malt scotch which can be found at www.thefiftybest.com/spirits/best_single_malt_scotch/ . I’m getting thirsty.

It’s December right now. It’s frigid outside. Cold and snowy. (Yay) So, naturally I think about baseball. A lot. Like every five minutes I’m thinking about ERA for my dream starting rotation. Naturally then, I am never disappointed when someone gets me season tickets. Well, actually that’s never happened. But YOU CAN! Most teams will have already begun selling their season ticket packages by this time, so you might want to scoop them up. The easiest way I’ve found to get to a particular team’s website is by typing this: "city name.team name.mlb.com".  If you’re not interested in spending the 4 G’s or whatever it costs, almost all teams also offer far more affordable packages such as the ever popular 9 game pack. If you’re a Brewers fan, that will cost you about $200. Or gift certificates (also good on merchandise) all make you seem pretty, pretty awesome.

It's the last paragraph, so naturally this is sort of like a grab bag. A dude gift sack if you will. He has a lot of tools, or maybe he doesn't. Either way, he probably doesn't have one of these, and I'm sorry to say, he WILL need it: a Tire Repair Kit in a box. If your warrior guy/viking man/hairiest person at the swimming pool has the same, keen and true sense of direction like this Modern Magellan, start shopping for GPS systems. Baby it's cold outside. Put on another shirt. Or maybe some gloves. And a hat. No? Get in a sleeping bag. Well, try warming up by decorating the tent. Not much for the outdoors? Stay inside. Perhaps something a little risque to open later...a gift you'll both enjoy... . Don't forget the bubbly. It's almost New Year's Eve...

12 December, 2011

Holiday Cheer in a Pinch: Garland Trees

 With December chugging along, I usually find myself dreaming up ways to shove as much Holiday Cheer into my schedule as possible.  Last year, for instance, Allison and I whipped up a little cookie decorating party.  It was heavenly!  Our design was polished and refined, but the details were quick, easy and affordable. This is the first of two of our favorite décor elements from a little party we like to call: Winter Wonderful

Materials needed:
- three cones of graduating size (I happened to have some floral cones floating about my house, so that’s what I’m using here.  The same look can be achieved with any cone shaped item. )
- a few lengths of garland…9-12 feet should cover it, depending on the size of your cones
-straight pins (if you are using a cone that is impervious to straight pins, you might find the use of double sided tape or fabric glue helpful)
-embellishments of a shiny, delightful caliber (optional)

1. Secure the end of one length of garland to the apex of the cone with a straight pin.

2. Wrap the garland around the length of the cone, anchoring garland sporadically with pins.  Try not to wrap too tightly, as we are trying to achieve a fluffier look.

 3.  To finish the bottom of the cone, snip garland to fit and secure with pin.

4. (Optional) At this point, you can embellish your garland trees as much or a little as you like.  Last year, Allison and I used big bird ornaments (that’s right, we put a bird on it) that we found at Michael’s.  To keep your minds fresh, I didn’t add pics of mine, but I suggest buttons, costume jewelry, gift wrap tie-ins…you name it.  The sky is the limit!


29 November, 2011

Hey, Kid: A Letter to Myself at 15

My impending birthday always makes me reflective.  This year, I spent, like six months contemplating the reality of 30.  So, I've been sitting on this for a few days, debating whether I should post it.  The more I read it, the more I love it.  So I will share.  And I might even add some pictures...

Hey, kid (don't you hate that, I always did):

First, the bad news: They aren’t bringing back Crystal Pepsi. Not ever, so let go of the dream. We did not marry Rider Strong or Rivers Cuomo. I know, right?! You should still doodle cute Weezer doodles all over your binder, though. It’s fun. Also, we are not the toast of Broadway. Lame, I know, but true. Oh, and Ricky Martin is gay. We totally called it.

Now the important stuff.

Don’t be so hard on our parents. They’re pretty amazing. They’ve put up with a lot of shizz from us over the years (ask me about our college bank account). Dad works really hard and he does what he does because he likes it. He’s also pretty brilliant at it, too. Adults do this thing where they stay at a job even though they don’t like all the aspects of it. Insane, I know.  He hates that his job takes him away so much, but it does help pay for the car you’re getting (that’s right, a car for your 16th birthday…keep an eye out in June) and everything else you have, so chill. Besides, we’re 30, and Mom is still our best friend, so what does that tell you.

Oh, by the way, when you are 18, you will be offered some rum cake. DO NOT EAT IT. It will make you sick and you will throw up all over the stairs. It will make the staircase smell like booze. Mom will think you were drinking. She will not believe that you weren’t. When she asks you again (and believe me, she will, several times, years later), she’s giving you a chance to come clean. Stick to your guns. We’ll get her yet.

While we’re on the subject, get ready for this: You will miss Nebraska so much you will feel like you can’t breathe. Never saw it coming. After high school, you will cry every time you leave Mom and Dad’s after a visit. Every time. Each time you visit it will be harder to leave and you’ll feel like your heart is in a vice grip. It sucks. But, you can’t move home every time life gets tough so stick it out.

You are beautiful. Right now. Just like this.  I wish I could be there every day to remind you. Look, I get it: nobody close to you looks like you and that’s hard. You just want to fit in.  These feelings aren’t your fault.  We do, however, live in a world obsessed with youth and beauty and these subtle messages won’t be lost on you. You will internalize it all and you will feel ugly. Every day. I wish I could tell you this gets better for us or shield you from it, but it doesn’t and I can’t. I have given up so much in the pursuit of the perfect figure, sometimes I think the only thing getting smaller is my spirit.  I would give anything to stop you from going through this.  The silver lining?: Our struggle with this makes us nicer to people…gives us empathy…which, let’s face it is an emotion we aren’t good at.

So, boys.  Oh, honey if I had the answers I'd be a millionaire.  All I can say is this: Be good to yourself.  Love yourself first. You won't find what you feel you're missing in the ice blue eyes underneath a dirty ball cap.  It never works out and you'll lose yourself trying to be someone he wants.  Also, you can say no.  Even if it goes really far, really fast.  No one gets ownership of your body but you.  Remember that.  Each and every time.

Okay. This is really important. Your 20’s are going to be…difficult at times.  However, there will be people all around you that want to help. Do not shut them out. You do not have to do it alone.  You’ll know what I mean when you get there. I wish I could explain, but you need to live through these things. You will get back up, you will be okay again and you will feel like a Phoenix when you do.

There’s lots more I want to tell you but I don’t want to ruin the surprise, so I will give you a couple of spoilers (Google it…oh, wait. Can you do that? Google things? Well, look it up anyway.) So here goes:

Hang in there for the Friends finale. It gets pretty good.
Keep your eye on the political scene. Un. Believable.
Remember to relax.
There is a hotter batman than Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer. Seriously, wait for it.
In like three years, a movie called The Matrix will come out. Go see it. It will blow your mind.

So there you have it, honey.  The next 15 years in a nutshell.  It's gonna be crazy, but you're gonna love it.

All my love,

27 November, 2011

Luxe Life: Monster Bash

I've got pictures!! 

If you've been reading lately, you'll remember me talking about Monster Bash.  I was worried that I wouldn't get to use our cute, new party design, but as luck would have it, I was contacted by a frantic little Goldilou.  She found herself the host of a last-minute Halloween party and she needed some great ideas.  That's where we came in.  She knew we'd been working on Monster Bash so she wondered if we might just pack it up and send it over.  Well, needless to say, we were more than happy to help.  She was able to snap some quick pics as she was setting up.

So cute, right!!  Here you can see the invite, cupcake toppers and the bear and soda labels.  We chose to do something a little more mod, like the Shag prints on our Pinterest Board.  We get tired of big, cumbersome gothic motifs, so we decided to use pops of color. 

 In this photo, you can see two of my favorite details: the super cute candy corn banner and the candlesticks.  I'm really loving the way the banner looks against the white wall.  I think if I had to do it again, I would finish the edges of the candy corn.  How great do those candlesticks look?! So simple and yet they look oh, so good.

 Here's a shot of the set up! I'm told the party was a big success.  I'm so glad Goldiluxe could be part of the fun.

Oh, one more thing...a guest at the party has asked for something similar for an upcoming baby shower....we showed her some of our photos and designs and after much deliberation, it seems as though Cowboy Baby will finally be coming to life. I'm so excited!

Wanna see more photos?  You can check them out on our Facebook page.

15 November, 2011

Guest Post: Howard's Guide to the Perfect Shoot

Have I got something special for you today, gang. My super creative friend, Howard Leu has taken some time out of his cray cray schedule to pen a little ditty for us. So, I'll get out of the way and, Howard, it's your dice!

 For Wedding Couples: How to Have a Perfect Wedding Shoot

 Like many wedding photographers, I started out shooting weddings for friends and family. I fell in love with wedding photography from those experiences and also from seeing just how creative wedding photography can really be. I love weddings, and I love capturing people’s candid emotions. It still seems like magic to me that we have this technology that can freeze a moment in time and preserve it for our enjoyment. Sure, I enjoy taking pictures of foliage or things that catch my eyes but being able to capture moments of a celebration where two people commence their union and commitment to one another, there’s nothing like it. And each wedding is unique. That makes shooting weddings challenging and exciting. My own wedding is in April of 2012. And believe me, I would shoot my own wedding if I can find a way to do it. But I can’t.

What I can do is help you get the most out of your wedding photographer and help them in ensuring a perfect wedding shoot. Here are some tips:

Hire the one you trust. I like to think that a wedding photographer is so much more than just that person with the camera taking photos at a wedding, but most of the time it is just that. The only time that it’s not just that is during the formal portraits and wedding party photos. That’s when the photographer is also the stage director, the timekeeper, and the person who tells people what to do. And since this is a person you are hiring to provide a service, why not make sure that they can do more than snap photos. The photographer will be concerned around two things at the wedding party shoot: 1. Getting great photos within the given amount of time, and 2. Making sure that the photo shoot doesn’t delay your arrival to the reception because the angry guests will surely not blame the couple (yep, you guessed right. They’ll blame the photographer). Hire someone you feel like you can trust and work out their duties during the wedding before hand. Then on your wedding day, let go of responsibilities and stress, and enjoy!

A walk with your photographer photographer. When you have your pre-wedding consultation with the photographer, you should do a walkthrough of the whole day as well as the different shoot locations. It can be either a verbal one or if it satisfies you, an actual walkthrough at the locations. A well-trained and experienced photographer should be able to shoot in any conditions and environment, and will most likely go visit the locations by themselves in the morning of the wedding or the day before. The walkthrough is for you the couple to communicate with the photographer what you like about the locations you’ve chosen for the shoots and what kind of shots you have in mind. Also, if you’re the kind of person who communicates better with pictures, don’t be afraid to ask the photographer if it’s okay to show them some wedding photos you like that you collected from magazines and websites. Try using photos that will show what you want and not the photos that you actually want.

Designate an organizer. Perhaps you already have a wedding planner or someone designated to be the point person to make sure things go smoothly on your wedding day. Then you can understand how having a go-to person during a photo shoot can help it go smoothly and efficiently. It could be someone in the wedding party or someone who knows most of the family and friends at the portrait shoots. This helps the photographer focus on what’s being captured behind the lens and ensure the time is well used. It also helps to have the organizer and photographer to be on the same page so that one can round up people needed for the shot while the other is setting up the shoot.

Breathe in, breathe out, relax. When you’re standing there posing and feeling self-conscious about how unnatural you might look, do this: take a deep breath, roll your shoulders back, breathe out, and relax your body. Try to have one foot in front of the other and offset the even height of your shoulders. If you’re naturally camera shy, instead of looking into the camera lens look over it. Stiff in the face? If you just can’t seem to find that natural smile to match the joy in your heart then divert your attention to your spankin’ new husband/wife. Give them a little nudge or just simply look at them and remember what this day is about. Engage them in an affectionate glance, or whisper something tender or funny in their ear to get their attention. Those small moments always make photos that are full of magic.

You’re the Star! The most important thing you can remember about standing there for the photo shoot is that no matter how much you want to look good for the camera it really comes down to how you feel inside. Even if it is a posed photo, what’s really being captured, besides how fabulous you look, is what you express from within. Let the photographer worry about how the photos look. Just focus on all the attention from the cameras and friends and family on your wedding day.

Howard is an architect and freelance photographer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He restores and writes about the wonderful historic fabric that is the old buildings in Milwaukee when he’s not pointing his camera at people. You can find his photography works at howardleuphotography.com.

26 October, 2011

On the Cutting Room Floor: Monster Bash

Halloween is inching ever closer and I could not be more excited.  As I had mentioned before, we are giving our Halloween party design an overhaul this year.  We finally settled on something we are super happy with, but sadly, it seems we won't have time this year to put our epic party on it's feet.  But, did we ever have fun reinventing!

Which brings me to my point.  I am often asked how I avoid doing the same party over and over.  I usually have a stock answer that is something like "every event is a chance to push my limits and breathe new life into an event even if two clients have the same idea".  This is totally true, bee-tee-dubs. But.  And that's a big but, my freshness is in large part contributed to the amount of work we do that never sees the light of day!

It's true, y'all.  As part of my design process, I design an event, in its entirety, three times. So you can imagine how many designs end up on the cutting room floor. 

What does this have to do with Monster Bash?  Well, I thought I might share one of the designs that didn't make the cut.

Cute, isn't it?  We thought so.  but, once you see the finished product, you'll understand why it had to go.

24 October, 2011

You Asked For It: Horror-ween

I am throwing a Halloween party. I wish to impress my friends with my knowledge of horror movies (although they kind of terrify me).  Do you have any recommendations?

Why, yes.  Yes I do have some opinions.  Although, I cannot tell you how hard it was to narrow down my list.  For instance, I thought I might get started by writing down all the scary movies I've ever seen...well, after about 90 minutes, I was up to about 125.  Then came the categories...oy.

For the purpose of your list, I've chosen twelve of my favorites (regardless of genre) and left (most) of my movie snobiness geekiness commentary out of it.  I will warn you, though.  I'm a fan of originals.  I'd stay away from the remakes...except for Halloween.  Rob Zombie's remakes are sure to scare the pants off your guests.

And away we go:

The Omen (1976.  Trust me.  Skip the 2006 remake.  It's caca.)
Rosemary's Baby (1968-Mia Farrow at her finest)
Friday the 13th (1980.  Again, skip the remake.)
Nightmare on Elm Street (1984...Johnny Depp is totally in it.)
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005 Superb movie.  I was totally terrified after this came out)
The Shining (1980)
Night of the Living Dead (1968- I am a HUGE Romero fan and a zombie purist.  This film started it all, by the way)
Children of the Corn (1984)
The Exorcist (1973. "Your mother sucks ** in hell!"-Classic.)
Halloween (really, either the original or the Zombie remake-both are outstanding)
Sleepaway Camp (1983)
High Tension (2003 I'd watch it with the subtitles if I were you, it loses a lot in dubbing)

And a little bonus (and one of my all-time, fave horror films) number 13.  Has a spooky ring to it, huh?

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974.  It's a classic, I'm tellin' ya.  Totes awesome.  Totes scary.)

Have fun, dolls!

Am I missing anything?  Leave it in the comments!

You Asked For It: Music to Die For

It's so awesome of you to answer all these questions.  And for free?!  Lucky us.  Hey, I've got one: I'm throwing an Halloween get together too.  You always put a big emphasis on engaging the senses.  I need some killer (excuse the pun) music.  Any suggestions?

Thanks for reading!  I love answering reader questions.  Its easily my favorite part of having a blog.  Now! On to your question:

Nothing adds atmosphere to an unforgettable event quite like the perfect playlist.  However choosing music to set the mood can be tricky.  To help get you started, I'm sharing the top 25 tracks on the Goldiluxe Halloween Hit List.  Enjoy if you dare!

Hey There Little Red Riding Hood - Sam the Sham & The Pharoahs
Monster Mash - Bobby "Boris" Pickett

Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon
Purple People Eater - Sheb Wooley
Witchy Woman - Eagles
Love Potion No. 9 - The Clovers
Black Magic - Johnny Mercer
I Put a Spell On You - Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Teeth - Lady Gaga
Walk Like an Egyptian - The Bangles
Subterranean Homesick Alien - Radiohead
Monster - Lady Gaga
Thriller - Michael Jackson
Pyscho Killer - Talking Heads
One Way Ticket to Hell - The Darkness
Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones
Spooky Little Girl - The Zombies
Evil Woman - ELO
Black Moon Rising - CCR
Halloween (Main Theme) - From the Motion Picture
Nightmare on Elm Street (Main Theme) - Moussorgsky (Fantasia Soundtrack)
Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr.
Adams Family Theme
Munsters Theme
Firestarter - Prodigy
Beautiful People - Marilyn Manson (yes, I know, but it really is spooky)

There you go, doll!  I hope you can make some of these work.  I love Halloween.

And, for the rest of you, you can leave your questions on Facebook, Twitter or e-mail me at rosieevents@gmail.com.  I'd love to hear from you.

Photo from martha stewart dot com

19 October, 2011

Halloween Sneaky Peeky

So, it's looking like I won't get to use my totally fab Halloween design this year, but it's so good I can't help but want to share...here's your first little lookie-see:

How cute is that?!  Stay tuned for more!

Label design by Allison C. Beilke.

18 October, 2011

Designer Love: Vera Wang Fall 2012 Preview

Look at what I found in my inbox, y'all!  That's right, the Fall 2012 Vera Wang collection is here and it's fierce!  Here photos of my top three:

Whoa.  Seriously, I die.  This season's collection is inspired by nude and black undergarments.  Ms. Wang has described her collection as "both mysterious and sexy, frivolous and fun, with transparent wisps of carefully organized tulle."  Personally, I think this collection has taken taken on a decidedly darker feel and mood.  This might be my favorite collection from the queen of bridal.

Boom, baby!  I am in love with this one y'all.  Simply stunning.  By the by, word on the street is that these dresses will be available through Vera Wang's Madison Avenue flagship store.  HOWEVER, they will only be available October 20-23.  After that, you'll just have to wait for them to hit stores nationwide.

Ahh!  Just look at it.  Drink it in. Le sigh.  I'm just such a huge fan of the detail on this gown.  Wanna see what I left out?  You can.  Here.

All photos: Vera Wang via weddingwire dot com

17 October, 2011

Guest Post: Tips for a Successful Kids' Party


I have a super special treat for you today, y'all.  Lauren Bonk, (yes, that Lauren Bonk) is on hand to give us a little heads up on planning a stress-free kids' party. 

As we do more and more of them, I have become more acutely aware of how much I don't know about kids (You mean, they can't have mimosas?!  Like, ever?!).  I kid, I kid...sort of (seriously, no mimosas?!)

And, because I totally sure I'm not the only fab, pre-baby gal out there with the questions, I thought we all might benefit from the knowledge of one of Goldiluxe's most favorite Mamas. 

Take it away, Lauren!

Oh, and P.S., would you look at that face?!  Crazy lovely, right?!  Well, if you like what you see here, I suggest you get your fab little behinds over to her equally lovely blog.  It's pretty great, y'all.

I'll be honest, the words 'kids' and 'parties,' when spoken in the same sentence, almost immediately give me a migraine.

My son, Charlie, is getting bigger, though, and that means it's going to be harder for me to be such a mommy-hermit. He's going to start caring if other people celebrate his birthday or not, and he's going to start caring if he gets invited by someone else.

Kids need to interact with each other...who'd have thought?

So this is where I admit that I haven't actually had to tow Charlie to another child's birthday party yet...and at first, I thought that may pose a problem when Erin asked me to write about parties involving gaggles of ankle-biters. (These, of course, are my words...not Erin's :)

Now, I may not be a kid-party expert, but I'd like to say that I'm becoming quite experienced in the actual having-a-kid department...and I've learned a few social cues from Charlie that I plan to use when planning future birthday parties.

A toy is usually boring until someone else wants it.

Here's my main suggestion: If you're going to present toys to play with, make sure they're plentiful and alike. Let me use the example of sand-toys here. When I bring buckets and shovels to the park, Charlie could not care less about them until some other kids start playing with them. He then uses his super-speedy-toy-swiping skills to steal his favorite bucket right from the cute little hands of an 11 month old with a planet-sized flower balancing on her headband.

She cries. Charlie looks triumphant. I give him a time out.

All of this could have been avoided if I had brought 4 identical buckets. The same applies for your party. Have a few choices of toys and games, but make sure there are plenty of identical toys for everyone to play with.

Plan for contained chaos.

This is a gathering made up of children. They are bursting with energy and at the mercy of their emotions. This party will not be perfect. It will, however, help to find an area that has plenty of room, but also comes with effective methods of containment.

If you're going to the trouble to put together a kid-friendly party, chances are you'll go the extra mile to find an appropriate space.

A big, empty room (like a rented library room, church fellowship hall, or big basement) that you can fill with toys, tables, and games will be perfect. Kids like to run around and chase each other...parents are usually cool with watching them. Make sure you can close a door or put up a gate so that moms and dads can easily keep eyes on their kids.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret:

Big, safe room + toys + kids = Glorious sit-and-chat-and-watch time for parents.

Plan for crazy hippies.

I'm not trying to be offensive here...I'm the crazy hippie you've got to watch out for. We chose not to give Charlie any processed sugar for a really long time. We still don't give him a whole lot. For his 1st birthday, we found a great recipe for a naturally sweetened carrot cake. It was pretty tasty, even for everyone else.

The result of this is that Charlie would much prefer a bowl of yogurt and cheerios over (are you ready for this?) a Krispy Kreme donut. For real. He took one bite of a heavenly sugar ring a couple days ago and immediately lost interest.

This last Easter, my wonderful sister-in-law brought graham cracker bunnies and natural fruit roll-ups to put in the plastic eggs that Charlie found. I was so grateful that Charlie was able to sit and eat his spoils with the rest of his cousins...I totally owe her one.

What I'm trying to say is that people will appreciate it if you provide a few different snack options. Apple slices and flavored yogurt as well as big, fabulous slices of cake will help to keep everyone happy.

That's not so much a social cue as a parental preference...but hey, I think it's important.

I know these tips won't solve all your child-party problems, but hopefully they'll solve enough to provide a fairly stress-free experience.

What about you guys? Do you have any great kid-party tips?

14 October, 2011

Halloween Happenings

Hello, my ghoulish little Goldilous.  It's that time of year again and I could not be happier!  If you know me at all, you know that Halloween is probably my favorite holiday.  Like, if someone "sent me to a desert island with three things" kind of favorite. So what am I doing to keep the Halloween lovelight a-burnin?  Well:

1. AMC's annual Fright Fest starts Sunday (!).  Hosted by the patron saint of zombie movies, George Romero (!!).  Seriously, y'all, I wait all.  year.  for this.

2.  TCM will be showing classic horror movies (like 1969 on down) every Monday.  Both classic movie channels will be streaming classic horror online as well. Yay!

3.  My Halloween decorate-fest begins tomorrow.

and now, the bestest, most fun thing I'm doing this year is:

4.  I'm revamping my Halloween party design!  It's sooo much fun.  I completely rethink my design in order to come up with something fresh and exciting every year.  I pull everything out, see what I can reuse or, rather repurpose and then set to work creating something new.  It's a great way to keep me on my toes as a designer.

With that said, this year I wanted to go in a totally new direction.  Something full of splashy, campy goodness.  The pic above is my favorite image from my new inspiration board.  This October is packed for me, so I'm not sure I'll be able to use my design, but I can't wait to share it with all of you!  Stay tuned!

10 October, 2011

You Asked For It: Music to My Ears

Hey Goldiluxe!

You have a lot of opinions!  I like.  How about you weigh in on this: What are your top 20 song choices for a first dance?  Your 20 least favorite?

Okay, Sugar, I'll open up that door.  But, before I do, let me say this:  These are MY personal favorites (and least favorites).  This question was a lot of fun to answer, but I don't want anyone to feel like I'm doing the Electric Slide all over their music choices.  You dance to what ever moves you.  I will too. Also, keep in mind some (not many, but some)of those listed on the Bottom 20 are songs I LOVE, but I just can't stand hearing them at yet another wedding.

Now on to the list!

Top 20 (in no particular order):

1.  You Go to My Head - Billie Holiday                       
2.  I Get a Kick Out of You - Billie Holiday                 
3.  What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong        
4.  Chances Are - Johnny Mathis
5.  She's a Lady - Tom Jones
6.  What's New Pussycat? - Tom Jones
7.  At Last - Etta James
8.  Love Will Keep Us Together - Captain & Tennille
9.  In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel
10.  Rio - Duran Duran
11.  Africa - Toto
12.  Never Gonna Give You Up - Rick Astley (seriously, I love this song)
13.  Endlessly - Duffy
14.  Friday I'm in Love - The Cure
15.  Sea of Love - Phil Phillips
16.  (Can't Help) Falling in Love With You - Ingrid Michaelson
17.  Anyone Else But You - The Moldy Peaches
18.  Mint Car - The Cure
19.  Sweet Darlin' - She & Him
20.  Help Yourself - Tom Jones

And a bonus 21: Easy Like Sunday Morning - The Commodores

The Bottom 20 (in no particular order):
1.  Amazed - Lonestar
2.  My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion
3.  Lips of an Angel - Hinder
4.  Everything I Do (I Do it For You) - Bryan Adams
5.  I Swear - All 4 One
6.  Kiss From A Rose - Seal
7.  I'll Make Love to You - Boyz II Men
8.  White Wedding - Billy Idol
9.  I Don't Want to Miss A Thing - Aerosmith
10.  Truly, Madly, Deeply - Savage Garden
11.  Careless Whisper (!) - Wham!
12.  I'll Be - Edwin McCain
13.  Every Breath You Take - The Police
14.  I will Always Love You - Dolly Parton
15.  Because You Loved Me - Celine Dion
16.  She Will Be Loved - Maroon 5
17.  Iris - Goo Goo Dolls
18.  All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You - Heart
19. Greatest Love of All - Whitney Houston
20.  Shameless - Garth Brooks

And your bonus stinker #21: Whiskey Lullaby - Brad Paisley and Allison Kraus

Have suggestions?  Leave 'em in the comments.

Guest Who?

Hello there, dumplings!

Yours truly is guest posting over at Lauren's blog today.  She's a brilliant blogger friend of mine.  Seriously, y'all.  After you check out my post, you really ought to stick around and see what you can see.  It's totally worth it.

07 October, 2011

Country Wedding in the City: Inspiration

Our 2012 dance card is filling fast!  Which is super exciting for us!  We are a whirlwind of activity here, designing, scheming, planning and dreaming!  As such, I am working on the inspiration board for a July wedding.

The bride is one of my favorite people from my Nebraska Life.  We went to University together and now we both live here in the MKE.  The groom is, in a word amazing.  He's funny, kind and totally adorbs.  Best of all, he's perfect for my sweet friend.  In addition to being extremely blessed to be a bridesmaid, I am fortunate enough to put the Goldiluxe stamp on this super special occasion.

I've been contemplating my approach to this event a lot lately and Pinterest has been helping me distill my vision.  As I put together my inspiration Board, I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite images.  Enjoy!

Aren't they lovely?  This photo came to me via Style Me Pretty and was taken by A Simple Photograph.  My couple loves blue and I thought this little photo illustrated a perfect palette.  Coordinating, not matchy-matchy.  Simple picture, huge source of inspiration.  I'm especially in love with that deep, luscious midnight blue.

Wildflower centerpieces are becoming increasingly visible these days, and let me tell you, "mama like".  I love the look of them, the idea of them...you name it.  I think with this (and countless others) in mind, I'll be able to put something really great together for this wedding...I've been scouring floral mags and the wheels are definitely turning.

J'adore this photo!  I am LOVING all the delicious rusticity to be found in the pages of bridal mags and blogs of late.  I love country elements thrown into an elegant affair.  Don't mistake it for shabby chic, mind you.  The jury's still out on shabby chic.  Also, how brill is the homemade favor idea?!  Love, love love!  This adorable little photo comes from Green Wedding Shoes ( a personal fave) and was shot by Steep Street.

So there you have it.  Three of my favorite images from the ever expanding Country Wedding inspiration board.  I can't wait to share more as we work out the details...

18 September, 2011

Hello, World! My Name's Goldiluxe, What's Yours?

Hello Darlings!

I've finally been pulled into the 21st Century. You may be thinking:  "But Erin, your love of Apple products, this blog-your iPad!  Don't those say, 21st Century?!"  Well, they do.  Sort of.  But what I'm talking about is much bigger!

Goldiluxe Events is now on Facebook!

What?!  That's right.  After three years, I've finally broken down and signed us up for Facebook.

So, here goes nothing, I guess...

06 September, 2011

You Asked For It: Bridal Shower Bliss

Hey lady!
Here's the deal.  One of my 'maids approached me about throwing a shower.  I jumped at the chance.  She's the only one that has offered.  I'm also really lucky because she's a close friend of mine and is consulting me on the plans-she wants to make sure the shower is uniquely me!  My question is this:  

Should I assume that my future MIL will want in on this (she lives in the same town)? What about her friends? Should I just wait and see if she approaches me? What about my Mom? She hasn't said a word, but she does live in another state.

First off, congratulations!  I love wedding showers, I think they're just wonderful!  Also, how awesome that your 'maids are involving you in the process.  Sounds like it's gonna be great!

Now my judgment call advice:

You should let his mom know that a shower is being planned/designed for you. Judging on her reaction, you can decide how much to involve her. Of course let her invite her friends, moms of sons love showing off their future daughters in law. Also, if she wants to add a lot of people to the guest list (which you should be considering now, probably) , she might have some great ideas on where to have it…if the guest list grows larger than the home you're having it in…there are so many great ways your MIL can be involved. Here are a few:

- let her help your 'maids pick out, assemble and mail the invites 

- once you have some decor options to look at, show them to her and ask for her input

- she can help set the menu

- she can help decorate

- let her be in charge of the RSVP’s

- ask her for input on dates and locations

- if there is a game, consider letting her run it 

You will be surprised at the number of things that will arise as you go through the process. It’s all up to you how much you want her to do and if you’re unsure of what’s being done, you can always put her in touch with your 'maids.  They'll be happy to provide some guidance.

As for your Mom, let her know what's going on. Let her be involved however she'd like.  Send her an invite.  You never know when you'll get a surprise guest.

Hope that helps.

30 August, 2011

Tiki Weekend: Tiki Lantern Tutorial

Hello cupcakes!
The response to Tiki Weekend has been overwhelming!  You've been messaging me and e-mailing to demand more photos.  Trust me, you'll get them this week.  
Our tiki votives were a huge hit with y'all, so I thought to tide you over,  you might enjoy a tutorial...authored by my friend and frequent collaborator: Allison Beilke.  Enjoy!

Hello lovely Goldiblog readers! I like to consider myself Erin’s silent design partner in crime, but today it’s my turn to guest post. With hopefully more posts to come! As you know, Erin is a very crafty lady and together we crafted many decorations for our summer, retro-fabulous Tiki party. We were inspired by many great decoration tutorials we found on various blogs, but we also came up with our own original.

With that I give to you… DIY Tiki Lanterns! It’s really quite easy (and cheap!) and you can customize it for virtually any event or holiday of your choosing. You could even give them away as party favors.

You will need:
Plain, GLASS juice glasses (no plastic since they’re for burning candles)
Mod Podge
Paintbrushes or sponge brushes
Solid color tissue paper
Contact paper
Exacto knife
Pen or pencil
Carbon transfer paper (optional)
Acrylic paint
Acrylic gloss or matte medium

First, pick up a couple inexpensive plain, glass juice glasses. We found some that were 5” tall, but you could certainly use small shot glasses too. Tissue paper is next. This will serve as the first layer so think about what colors you want to glow through when the candles are lit. Lie the glass on the tissue paper to measure a strip that will cover the whole glass and cut it out.

Paint on Mod Podge and carefully apply the tissue paper to the glass. (It’s ok if this doesn’t turn out perfect because it gets covered up and sometimes texture makes for interesting results!) Let this dry for a few hours. I would recommend coming back and putting on an outer coat of Mod Podge, then let it dry overnight.

Now you’re ready for the fun part! Decide what design you’d like to show through when lit. I drew some tiki faces that were pretty basic shapes and printed from my computer. You can download the template here for your own tropically-themed party. Transfer the designs onto contact paper either using carbon paper or a pencil to shade the back of the paper with the design on it and trace onto contact paper. Next cut out the shapes from the contact paper with an exacto knife and apply to your tissue paper lined glasses.

Get out your acrylic paint (we used burnt sienna) and mix a small amount with the acrylic medium. You want a consistency that has a nice amount of color for coverage, but the medium will give is some transparency for the light to come through. Paint over the entire glass, including the contact paper. Let dry overnight. The next day is REALLY the fun part. Peel back the contact paper shapes, drop in some tea lights and prepare to be amazed!  

They really added to the whimsical ambiance of our party.  We had a blast making them and we hope you do too!

23 August, 2011

Tiki Weekend: First Look

Hello, dolls!

I'm so happy to finally share a glimpse of the tiki party!  It was a huge success and will most likely become a yearly thing...so, while I'm concerned about the concept getting stale, I'll have plenty of opportunities to revamp, rework and redesign aspects of the party on a yearly basis. 

I hope you enjoy your first look at Tiki Weekend!

Quite possibly my favorite touch of the evening.  This adorable tiki sign comes to us via Allison.  She found it a number of years ago.  The other side says "The Tiki Lounge is Closed" and we could barely contain our excitement when we finally switched the sign to "open".  So, we're nerds.  Sue me.

The cupcakes!  They really did turn out wonderfully.  I made my signature lemon-lavender cake and topped them with a vanilla cloud frosting.  The swirl cups and tiki sugars I purchased at Layer Cake Shop.  Those sugars are just the living end and made the diminutive cakes really stand out on the table.

An adorable shot of the drink table.  You can see our cute straws (also from Layer Cake Shop) and vintage Hawaii souvenir mugs (from the ever-awesome Tip Top Atomic Shop in the heart of Bay View) )Look at those flowers, will ya?!  Allison and I really wanted a deliciously tropical flower arrangement. We thought. We sketched.  Finally, it hit us! And, voilà! A tropical drink inspired arrangement! 

The tiki lanterns were perhaps the best idea we had for the party.  They are a completely original design and we are really proud of them.  I was instantly in love with how easy they were to make (they'd also be a great craft for kids).  Our little tiki idols were a huge hit with the guests!  
Stay tuned for more Tiki Weekend all week!  I have so much more to share!

10 August, 2011

Some Calm in the Internet Storm

So, if you're anything like me and read wedding blogs incessantly, you're probably aware of this.  Then there was this.  Basically, some couple had a wedding (albeit a thoughtless and distasteful one) and people lost their shizz.  And, in the interest of full disclosure, I should say I kinda lost my shizz a little bit, as well.  Because, in my opinion having an oh, so awesome time while making light of the struggle of millions all over the world is tasteless.  Abject poverty isn't fun.  It isn't romantic and it isn't cute.  But I kept my damn mouth shut.  Which is another post...

My point is, if I may be frank, this wedding started an Internet shit show. Once that fire was a'blazin, the flames were fanned. I am still collecting my thoughts and in response to those of you who've asked my opinion: I plan to throw my two cents in later this week.

In the meantime, I suggest you read this post by the mastermind behind the Offbeat Empire, Ariel Meadow Stallings.  It's well written and thought provoking.  Then, we'll discuss this issue here.

28 July, 2011

Guest Postin' Gal!

Check me out, y'all!  I am guest posting over at Sun's awesome blog, Eat. Host. Run. Style.  As usual, I have some things to say about parties!  I have been following Sun's blog for awhile now, and have been super inspired by her breezy, positive approach to fitness.  I'm even working to get back into running by following some of her handy tips!

I'm super excited to be featured!

Follow me to the fun!

27 July, 2011

You Asked For It: Registry Revelations {Re-Post}

Good morning, dolls! I am so lucky to have such bright, inquisitive little Goldilous!  Because so many of you have been asking the best questions about registries, I thought I might re-post some of my tips on making your registry a little more fabulous!  Enjoy...

Registering for gifts was my second favorite part of the wedding planning hoopla. (Can you guess what my favorite part was?) Incidentally, registry planning is one of my favorite things to do with my couples as well. I was such a lucky gal because The Hubbs was totally into helping out. {Although I did have to keep steering him away from the electronics...and when my back was turned, he registered us for a Nintendo Wii et al.) Nevertheless I have definitely developed a strategy that I would love to share with you!

1. Don't spread yourselves to thinly. Stick to two or three of your favorite stores. Although the beauty of online shopping is so alluring, try to choose at least one national department chain with locations in most regions with a great selection of housewares. You may also want to choose a local specialty store for those quirkier items.

2. Think of your guests. When registering for gifts, try to choose items that span the spectrum of price ranges. Be sure to balance big ticket items with equally wonderful budget-friendly choices.

3. Give yourself the gift of time. You should complete your registry(ies) between 4 and 6 months before the big day. This gives your guests time to shop, wrap and ship to their heart's desire. A generous time frame will also cover any showers you may have.

4. Make sure to register for enough gifts. I know this may sound a wee bit strange, but trust me (!) this is important. You want to register for more gifts than there are guests. Choosy gift givers (like me) will appreciate the plethora of items to browse. Keep in mind, you'll most likely have a shower or two in there somewhere and you'll need to allow for those as well. After all, "variety is the spice of life", no?

5. Don't be afraid to spread the registry word! I know that etiquette (and Martha Stewart) says, "Don't tell your guests where your registered in the invitation". For me, the jury's still out. While I agree such info should never EVER be located on the invitation card itself, I have seen a number of tasteful and gorgeous registry cards. In my humble opinion, the job of the invitation suite is to provide your guests with all the info they'll need to successfully attend your wedding. The registry info is part of that information. However, if you should want to follow etiquette, you and your SO should tell only immediate family and the bridal party. Have them spread the word throughout the wedding guests. It is totally appropriate to include registry info with shower invites.

6. It's okay to register for gift cards! While it is still taboo to ask for money {as it should be}, most registry programs will ask you if you'd like to receive gift cards. Go ahead and check "yes"! We all know these things are great for traveling guests. Just slip them into the card, slip the card in your carry on and away you go! It's also super great to use your gift cards to complete your registry after the wedding!

7. When registering, think of your "happily ever after" not just your "happily ever now". Registry expert Mary Rose Gearon said it best, "Don't just think about your lifestyle as it is now. You'll be entertaining more in the years to come, so create a wish list of items: a platter for your first Thanksgiving dinner or champagne flutes for a New Year's toast. Keep those special occasions in mind; it's a wonderful way to include loved ones in those important milestones." I couldn't have said it better myself.

8. Keep up on those thank you cards. As soon as gifts come in, write that thank you note. To add a more personal touch to the often-arduous task of thank-you notes, try short, personalized messages written by hand. If time is what you lack most, printed stock greetings are acceptable as long as you add a thoughtful, personal "PS" section. Your guests love you, so don't be afraid to show them a little love in return. Your friends and family will appreciate the time you took to make them feel special.

9. Don't fret if you don't get everything you registered for. Most registry programs have fantastic completion programs. Ask your registry consultant for details...most programs offer discounts, incentive programs and will keep your info online for awhile.

So there you have it. A few {well, more than a few} words on registries. I should mention that you should, most importantly, have fun! You should get to laugh and dream together as you pick out your fabulous gifts. So get out there, grab a scanner and have at it!

21 July, 2011

Guest Post: Looking – and Feeling – Your Best on the Big Day

Hello, Darlings!  What a week I'm having...

Today I have a brilliant guest post from Sun Torke.  Miss Sun is the mastermind behind the healthy living blog, Eat. Host. Run. Style.  I love reading Sun's blog for it's upbeat tone, creative cooking tips and inspirational exercise advice.  Mostly, I really appreciate Sun's body-positive approach to fitness.  

I thought, that here in the height of summer and the wedding season, Sun would have some really great advice to share with us about looking your best on the big day...and I was right.

So, without further adieu...Miss Sun Torke!

During a recent trip to the gym, I overheard a bride-to-be announce she’s sticking with an all chicken diet in an attempt to starve her way into her dream dress. As she talked about her diet, I noticed she looked slightly crazed and as though she might pass out or chew her arm off in hunger.

This type of extreme behavior is not only unhealthy; it also sucks the enjoyment out of one of the happiest occasions in life. Fortunately, there are ways to look your best without limiting your diet to a single food group. The trick is to take a balanced approach to diet and exercise.

These strategies can help you look – and feel – your best at your wedding:

Eat 4-6 small meals each day. If you’re trying to lose a few pounds, this may be the easiest way to do it. By spacing several meals throughout the day, you’ll avoid getting too hungry, which can lead to overeating. Try keeping these meals between 200-300 calories, depending on how many meals you eat each day.

Makeover your favorite high-calorie foods. For example, if you love pizza, make a lighter version. Try topping a Flatout flatbread with pizza sauce, 2 percent mozzarella cheese, 8 slices turkey pepperoni and your favorite veggies. Craving fries? Slice a medium sweet potato into wedges, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until edges are slightly browned.

Make time for exercise. I know you’re busy, but making time to exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Try to get at least five 30-minute sessions each week. If you have trouble squeezing your workouts in before or after work, try doing them over your lunch break. Or, combine exercising with socializing. For example, instead of catching up with friends over brunch, consider meeting for a morning hike or a cardio class at the gym instead.

Don’t forget about strength training. Whether you’re interested in toned thighs, lean arms or a flat midsection, strength training is one of the best ways to achieve your goals. If you aren’t sure where to start, pick up a fitness magazine or download a fitness mobile app for ideas. You might also consider hiring a personal trainer for a session or two to get started and make sure you’re using proper form while doing the exercises.

Have a happy – and healthy – wedding!
- ST