Times a Flyin’

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Whelp, I took the kids to North Carolina for a month in the summer and somehow a month hiatus turned into an endless house renovation and uh… 6 months of no blogging.

I’ve successfully missed some great party opportunities like Halloween and Christmas- my favorites. New Years 2014 has come and gone in all of its glittery brilliance. But I haven’t missed the Chinese New Year, so I say bring it on Year of the Horse!

“At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children “lucky money” in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.”

This tablescape is certain to drive away any bad luck. {image: sistaco.com.au}

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I’ve been looking for a good reason to make these festive fortune cookies. {image: cakeappreciationsociety.com}

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Decorations

good luck coin party acces $6:25 amazon luckybugpaperco.etsy.com webstaurantstore.com$15:100 Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 10.16.57 AM 50mini$9envelopes.com

{From top: Good Luck coins, amazon.com; Year of the Horse party favors, luckybugpaperco.etsy.com; Chinese take-out boxes, webstaurantstore.com; Sparklers, topsmalibu.com; Chinese red envelopes, envelopes.com}

Snow Cones

Did you have the Snoopy snow cone maker when you were a kid? I did. And I loved that thing, despite the fact that it probably caused my first case of carpal tunnel syndrome. Seriously, it is almost impossible to crank that gear and turn ice cubes into anything more than a spoonful of ice crumbs. But it is still kinda awesome in a way that cannot be explained.

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{www.hearthsong.com}

These days there are equally adorable (non-hand crankingly operated) versions. This one from Crate and Barrel actually will shave enough ice to go into one of their cute, striped snow cone cups.

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{both images above from Crate & Barrel}

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Williams-Sonoma also has some great snow cone accessories like these striped cups and syrups, which are sure to be more appetizing than the bitter concoctions that came with the Snoopy set.

Lastly, if you are in New Orleans this summer and you need a break from the heat- and you will- this is the to-go spot for snow cones!!!

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{Hansen’s Sno-Bliz}

I Scream… You Scream…

Summer is heating up and what better way to chill out than a bowl of ice cream?!

If you own an ice cream maker, then try these delicious and refreshing recipes:

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{http://www.sweetpaulmag.com/food/my-happy-dish-mint-chip-ice-cream-from-kasey-fleisher-hickey-of-turntable-kitchen}

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{http://www.grandbaby-cakes.com/2013/06/key-lime-pie-ice-cream-with-mango-swirl.html}

My favorite local spots for homemade ice cream are:

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{http://www.sweetrosecreamery.com}

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{http://www.ilovenicecream.com}

And when the homemade just isn’t an option, two of my favorite grocery store brands are:

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{http://www.mcconnells.com}

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{https://talentigelato.com}

4th of July

Our family usually travels to Fire Island to celebrate the 4th of July, but due to the damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy we will be staying in LA this year. I’m a little sad about it because there are great traditions in Fire Island like the annual kid parade, followed by hot dogs on the ball field, and when it finally gets dark we all strain to see the fireworks across the bay. Mostly I just love seeing the cousins running around in a little pack from dawn ’til dark.

In an effort to bring a little of the festive nature to our home this summer, I’ve pulled some of my favorite 4th of July images.

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I LOVE sparklers and how cute are these matchboxes?! {www.babble.com}

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I also LOVE s’mores. I’m sure the colored marshmallows aren’t really that much worse for you than the plain ones! {www.momdot.com}

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These look yummy- and healthy too! {www.thewinthropchronicles.com}

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I am only going to drink through star straws on the 4th! {www.shopsweetlulu.com}

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Cute decoration {www.marthastewart.com}

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My most favorite thing of all- FIREWORKS! Maybe this year I can see them up close and not as tiny specks across a large body of water. Keeping my thoughts positive! {www.500px.com}

Mail Order Cuteness

I got a copy of the Olive and Cocoa catalogue in the mail the other day and was pleasantly surprised by all of the cute party accessories that they offer. Here are some of my favorites:

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1. Sky-high birthday candles Birthday Cake Tapers $28/dozen (other cute colors available)

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2. I’m a sucker for a party hat with a great pom-pom Chapeau de Fete $44 for 6

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3. Milk Bottles $64 for 6

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4. My candy obsession would welcome this assortment any day. Birthday Treats $64/ petite box

Mint Juleps

Growing up in the South, I had a pretty big collection of silver julep cups by the time I graduated from high school. People give them as gifts all the time. No self-respecting southern girl actually drinks out of them- at least not when you’re young. I used mine for toothbrush holders in my dorm room, pencil holders on my desk and of course, they make great vases.

But this weekend it’s time to polish up your cups and use them as God intended!

For everyone watching the race this weekend, here is the quintessential Mint Julep recipe taken from How to Mix Drinks, published in 1936.

Southern Mint Julep
1 glass of Bourbon
4 sprigs fresh mint
1/2 tbsp. powdered sugar

In a julep cup, crush the mint leaves and sugar lightly together, add bourbon and fill glass with cracked ice; stir gently until cup is frosted. Decorate on top with 3 sprigs of mint.

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{Photo credit: gardenandgun.com}

Julep cups from silversuperstore.com **A quick note from me: Do not use their engraving service- make the effort to take your cups to a proper hand engraver. The difference is worth it!

Bulleit Bourbon from bevmo.com

Muddler and Reamer Set from jaysonhome.com

What’s Better Than Facebook?

Facebook has revolutionized birthdays. In fact, there are not many things better than getting hundreds of Happy Birthday messages from people near and far- from your best friends to your “friends” that you haven’t seen in 20 years.

Personally, I’m trying to step up my game with each Facebook birthday reminder because as much as I like the blanket HB2U, a Paperless Post card would be a little better.

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{Kate Spade for Paperless Post}

What is better than Facebook and better than Paperless Post? Good old fashion snail mail. Who doesn’t like getting a letter with their address written in ink and not peeking through a glassine window demanding some form of payment?!

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{From top left: urbanic.com (first two); riflepaperco.com; sugarpaper.com; riflepaperco.com; handwriting by engagedandinspired.com}

And even better than all of the above?! A care package.

For heavens sake, I’m not saying these ideas are for the people that you knew when you wore braces and haven’t seen since- the standard Facebook will do just fine for them.

Send that little package of joy and love to someone you really care about. You will absolutely make their day and an added bonus- it will make your day too!

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{from top left: box container store, packing tape en.dawanda.com, card sugarpaper, stamps shop.ashleybrookedesigns.com, giant fortune shipandshape.com, hair ties manemessage.com, flowers in a can fab.com, pouch baggu.com, moon ring leifshop.com, heart studs katespade.com, vespa pouch jonathanadler.com, nail polish lippmanncollection.com, coasters sugarpaper.com, water bottle amazon.com, baies scented door hanger us.spacenk.com