Friday, May 22, 2015

Summer Party Planning

Summer is right around the corner people! Can’t you FEEL IT!?!?
All I’ve been doing is daydreaming about laying by a pool, ice cold beverage in hand, and a sweet cabana boy named Kyle at my every beckon call...

Ok, odds are that’s NOT going to be the way I spend my favorite season. I don’t even know where the closest pool is around here. But that won’t stop me from throwing a party to celebrate surviving yet another polar vortex! So for those of you who have to make due with a regular backyard party like me, I’ve got a few ideas to help make planning a breeze.

When figuring out the details to a party, there are really just three categories you need to worry about:  Eat / Drink / Play

EAT
No one shows up to a gathering and isn’t hungry. It’s science. So when your friends arrive at the door, having something for them to nibble on is a must. I made these pretzel bites at our latest house party, and they were a huge success! They may look intimidating (hello...yeast…) but were actually pretty simple, and made me feel like freaking Betty Crocker.
You also can’t go wrong with classic chips and  dip. Break out your fun bowls, and set up a little “salsa station” by offering several different types. The only prep involved is twisting off jar lids and opening chip bags.
Once all your appetizers are devoured, it’s on to the main course! Nothing goes hand in hand with summer than barbecuing on the grill. This is also a great way to get the guys involved in the planning process. Give them meat, fire, send them outside, and you’ve pretty much made their day. A fun little twist to the average BBQ is serving kabobs. You can prepare these ahead of time, or depending on how many people you’re serving, offer cuts of meat with chopped veggies, and let your guest build their own. Everything is way more delicious when served on a stick, trust me.  

These would go great paired with our Strong and Sexy Fresh Garden Salsa, you don’t even need the chips, just eat with a spoon like a salad.
Finally we can’t forget about dessert. No backyard party is complete without a campfire and s’mores!
S'mores are my absolute FAVORITE summertime indulgence. Like seriously, don’t even get me started. But don’t think the deliciousness stops with just marshmallows, grams, and chocolate….oh no sir. Check out these 39 Life-Changing Ways to Make Better S’mores and hold on, because your mind is about to be blown.  
Don’t have a fire ring? No worries, this brilliant contraption sits right on the grill.

DRINK
Now that you feel a serious food-baby coming along, it’s the perfect time to sit, relax, and sip on a nice frosty drink. To keep things easy (and portable!) fill up a wheelbarrow with ice, and use that to keep all of the drinks chilled. It also totally beats lugging heavy coolers around.
A drink that looks as cool as it tastes, is a Crescent Moon (shown above). Fill your glass halfway with Blue Moon, and top the rest with Guinness. Be sure to serve this in a clear glass, the contrast of the light and dark beer is what I love most about this drink.

PLAY
What is a party without some fun!?!? If you have the space, Cornhole is a great game to play outdoors. Another crowd pleaser is Giant Jenga. Write tasks the players have to complete, or quirky rules to add to the game on each block for an additional challenge.
So when are you throwing your next party?!?!
Can I come???
Pleeeeeaaase!
I’m a SUPER fun person, I swear.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Color Your World

Often when starting a new design or project, one of the biggest challenges is coming up with a color scheme. Sometimes it's not that big of a deal to go through a hundred different colors, if you're working on the computer for example. But if you're painting a wall, or planning a wedding, you want it to be a color you will love day after day and for years to come!

One of my favorite places to turn when I need a fresh dose of color stimulation, is Instagram. Scrolling through my personal feed, I’m reminded why I snapped these pictures to begin with. Something about the moment caught my eye, and captivated me enough to forever immortalize it in social media history.  
Take time to look back at your photos and discover which colors you’re naturally attracted to. You already have a strange attachment to those little filtered pics, they might as well help get your creative juices flowing.

Visit STRONG IS OUR SEXY for a few of my favorite Instagram accounts bursting with fresh color.

Of course when discussing where to find ideas on the world wide web, we can’t leave out the mother-ship of them all; Pinterest. Just search the word  “color”,  and there’s enough image overload to scroll through you won’t leave your computer for a week. I find it best to organize my pins by category or idea. For example; one of the projects I’m working on in my home is the guest bedroom. I found this image a while back, and instantly fell in love with the deep navy. Now whenever I see a picture fitting that theme, I pin it to a specific board, so everything stays together.
Get the links to boards and pinners who are especially good at picking great color at STRONG IS OUR SEXY.

So you’ve searched high and low, and have curated the perfect color combo to make all your dreams come true.
Now what???
Executing a color scheme can sometimes be a tricky task. It involves a bit of balance, and some definite hierarchy. What do I mean by hierarchy? Well each color in your theme needs to have a certain level of importance. This will help keep colors from competing with each other, and create a sense of equilibrium. When decorating a room, your wall color is dominant, and everything you use to accent (bead spread, decor, curtains) is secondary.

Another real-life-example where a color scheme is important is planning a wedding!
For my own wedding (like most little girls) I had an idea what I wanted my colors to be for A LONG time. Purple has always been my favorite color, so that was a must. Our wedding was in September, so I used burnt orange to tie in the Fall season. And lastly my husband and I are HUGE Beatles fans, so to pay tribute we decorated with Granny Smith apples, and used bright green as our final color.
So in my case, the color hierarchy was; purple, orange, and then green.
This helped me make decisions such as what the bridesmaids would be wearing, what color flowers to focus on, what the jewelry would look like, and so on.
Image credit to Lindsey Kay
Our world is completely saturated in color. When deciding on a scheme focus on how certain colors make you feel, and latch on to those that fill you with JOY. Every time I see that perfect shade of purple or a green apple, I instantly remember the happiest day of my life.
That is the kind of reaction color should bring you.

For as many rules there are about coordinating color, there are just as many reasons to break them. As long as they make YOU happy, that’s all that really matters.