road trip party

For my thirtieth birthday my best friend planned a girls getaway. We jumped in the car and a group of us drove through wine country drinking, laughing and picnicking. I will never forget that weekend and how great it felt to drive and celebrate with my dearest friends. Whether you are planning a birthday, shower or bachelorette party- taking to the road is a fabulous way to celebrate together. And a great way to close out this top-down kind of summer we’ve had.

To host a great road trip party here are a few things to keep in mind. Have a starting plan and an ending destination, but don’t cling to the map or schedule too closely.

Some of the best experiences can be found as you stop and detour on the roads less traveled. Like stopping to make an impromptu wild flower bouquet or scouring a gorgeous small town vintage store that you’ve never heard of before.

Be sure to bring a large picnic blanket, snacks and drinks to share. Find a few restaurants along the route but don’t make reservations incase you find something more appealing on the way. Definitely bring a camera! Rent one if you don’t own a nice one and snap photos throughout the trip. Your guests will love the gorgeous light of the open road and the relaxed smiles you’ll capture as the day wears on.

Gorgeous lifestyle photography by Athena. Thanks to Karine France Matsumoto for styling, Laura and Jordann Aguon for hair and makeup, and the beautiful Sharon, Gayla and Natassja for posing it up along the road.

Posted August 15, 2012 9 Comments
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floral garden party

With spring having officially “sprung,” my entertaining philosophy has shifted completely to outdoor gatherings that celebrate blooming flowers and sunshine on bare shoulders. What better way to embrace the season’s bounty that by hosting a garden party, complete with loads of colorful vegetables (preferably picked straight from the garden!), a refreshing citrus cocktail and delicate blooms arranged haphazardly in vintage containers?

Here are five tips for hosting a perfect garden party:

1. Serve a simple menu of light bites that can be served at room temperature. This frees up the hostess from rushing back and forth to the kitchen so she can actually enjoy the party with her guests!

Greet guests as they arrive with vodka-spiked rosemary lemonade. Combine 1 part vodka to 2 parts fresh-squeezed lemonade, garnish with a long sprig of rosemary and serve simply in a mason jar tied with colorful ribbon.

2. Create a feast for the senses by moving a long table outside and layering it with details in shades of white and green. Start with a long white linen that falls to the floor, then top with a botanical runner made by cutting 3 yards of gorgeous upholstery straight from the bolt (no need to hem!).

Pretty white plates with linen napkins or rustic dishtowels make lovely place settings, especially when topped by seed packet favor bags bearing guests’ names. (For these, we were inspired by Chelsea’s tea party favors and made a few garden party-worthy tweaks!).

3. Ash from The Byrd Collective created the stunning centerpiece using poppies, daffodils, cabbage, geranium leaves and other interesting foliage. Think outside the vase and get creative with vessels; these blooms would look gorgeous displayed in mason jars, vintage medicine bottles, terra cotta pots, watering cans or drink pitchers. And not to worry if your flowers look less than “perfect”…these arrangements should appear as though they’re wild and growing straight from the garden!

4. For a fun activity, ask guests to bring a favorite flower or gardening book for a book swap! Each guest introduces her book during the meal, and afterwards everyone gets to choose the book they’d like to take home with them.

5. For favors put together “gardening kit” to encourage post-party green thumbs! Line a terra cotta pot with kraft paper, then fill with springtime bulbs, pretty gardening gloves and pruning shears. It’s such a sweet way for guests to remember a lovely day surrounded by food, flowers and friends!

Editorial Styling and photography by Camille Styles.

Posted April 18, 2012 1 Comment
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reason to celebrate | wigs and wine

Before Jenea was married last spring, her friends threw a shower with the most fun theme, wigs and wine! Each girl picked out a different wig to wear, we enjoyed wine together and then took to the town with the new bright do’s. If you are celebrating Valentine’s Day with girl friends this year it would be an awesome (and easy) last minute idea to pull off.

PS. Another fun girlfriend idea, have a fondue party at home!

Posted February 07, 2012 2 Comments
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bright wintry bridal shower

There is nothing like gathering with your girlfriends to share in one of the happiest moments of your life. Add a tasty breakfast and you’ll have a perfect bridal shower. Using wool as a key decor element we gave everyone a cozy and warm feeling on this cold winter day. Our wool was also used as the main inspiration for the stationery and was given away in the form of a pretty bow headband for each guest.

A little dessert table was set with all deliciousness for an unforgettable breakfast:  blackberry pancakes, marmalade, honey, donuts, coffee and cinnamon milk. The girls sat around a table set with yarn balls and wood knitting needles.

A vase that looked as it was knitted with ranunculus and narcissus brightened up the day and little bows stepped in to become cute placeholders on each plate. We finished the look with a simple linen tablecloth and bright yellow cake stands.

This perfectly bright bridal shower was designed for Styled. magazine issue four. A simple bridesmaids gift with a free download to go along with the shower can be found here.

Styling and project design by Alessandra Aghilar Photography by Federica Piccinini and Gaia Borzicchi Paper by Elena Mariani for Styled. magazine issue four.

Posted February 01, 2012 2 Comments
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tea at sea

The bright and cheery hues of this bridal shower are making me quite happy on this early summer’s day. Tea at sea is the party concept and these photos are a testament to why I love the summer beauty of San Diego. The theme would make a festive adaptation for upcoming summer parties or showers and could easily be transitioned to a lake, river (or with rafts instead of boats) a swimming pool.

We took our shoes off, danced in the sand and decorated row boats for the occasion. Iced tea was served in plastic cups and on colorful plastic serving trays to ensure a safe adventure at sea. We played games on the beach and laughed together off the shore as my shipwrecked cake floated by.

Photography by Carly Taylor for a subtle revelry. Special thanks to Kristen and Nichole for agreeing to be photographed and warding off the pirates;)

See the other posts from this day: The ice tea bar and waterproof drink labels.

PS. Instructions on the shipwreck cake are as follows (in case you’d like to create your own): Make a gorgeous cake you are thrilled about, allow it to fall and be wrecked right before the camera starts shooting, send it out to sea and call it shipwrecked… Happy Monday!


Posted June 06, 2011 13 Comments
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feather her nest…

Hosting a modern day feathered brunch is a fresh way to celebrate with an almost married Mrs. or an about to pop mom. Forgo the frilly feather look and take a modern spin on the idea. Incorporate bright colors, a simple design and a few quirky elements for a relaxed and pretty celebration.

This shower was originally designed for the first issue of Styled. magazine. I couldn’t help but share a few of my favorite extra photos with you here…

The entire concept was based on the pretty set of vintage Dixie cups. They scream bright and beautiful celebration to me. We filled them with bubbly. I love including traditional elements like the serving of champagne in a jovial way for informal parties. We served dime sized pancakes topped with my husbands most perfect preserve mix (I eat it often!) and finished off the design with table bowling.

Bright table games, like bowling, are perfect for showers, where there is often a lot of time spent sitting around chatting. Buy a similar set or adjust the directions on this easy bowling tutorial to fit your celebration, lose the elf hats and paint your pins in solid bright colors for a modern look.

Want to see more of these bright photos? Read the story in Styled., or see the entire photo gallery. Photography by Jackie Wonders.



Posted May 19, 2011 4 Comments
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A night of reveling in love is the perfect reason to celebrate, even after yesterday’s holiday. Hosting a night of appetizer fondue with girlfriends is festive and easy party for any Friday night. Add in a few hearts and be ready for a spring bridal shower or engagement party. En masse sharing your fondness through fondue would make a sweet and affordable addition to a wedding reception.

For our afternoon party, fondue was taken out of it’s usual earthy bowls and placed in miniature portions on shallow glass plates. Pretty cocktail glasses became home to lighted candles and guests enjoyed warming their cheese as they dipped one of the many treats provided at leisure.

Tables were topped with pretty homemade felt and metallic garland, inspired by this fabulous photo. The garland was easy to make and perfect for fancying up a backyard. Presents wrapped in pink were pretty prizes for winning the game of being lovely.

Cheers in front of a sprayed heart backdrop + filling our stomachs with chocolate and treats made for a get together where fondness, friends and love ran strong.

Photos of the event taken by Jackie Wonders

See the rest of the party- favors, threaded napkins & games.


Posted February 15, 2011 15 Comments
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Recreate project- pretty photo puzzles

A gorgeous bridal shower was thrown in a garden late this summer- a long burlap covered table filled with apples and homemade hard cider made for a lovely afternoon. While waiting to eat, each guest was given a puzzle of the engaged couple to put together, designed and photographed by Jodi, a very simple and lovely detail.

Photo puzzles

To recreate print out differing photos in 5×7 size, carefully cut into one inch squares. Keeping each photo separate, place in individual muslin bags with a directional tag and hand out to guests as a creative way to showcase photos of the couple.

Photography by Jodi Miller Photography

This project would also be completely amazing to use for an anniversary celebration, incorporating multiple old photos of the couple plus the dates they were taken- How sweet!


Posted October 12, 2010 5 Comments
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