DIY Independence Day Party: How To

Photo by: M.D. Creekmore

Happy Independence Day everyone! Well, almost. With July 4th quickly approaching, we’re all getting ready for some good food and awesome fireworks. So if you’re planning a last minute party for friends or family, we’ve got some simple and budget-friendly party ideas just for you!

 

While decorations may not be the most important item on your list of party planning to-dos, many can be made from things you already have around the house, making them practically free! Architectureartdesigns has forty awesome decoration ideas for your home, whether you’re planning a party or just want to show off your American pride!

Photo by: Kerrie Kelly

Architecture Art Designs is a website dedicated to bringing you fresh inspiration on Architecture, Design, and Art. Featuring inspiration for both indoors and out, as well as DIY projects, Architecture Art Designs is your one stop shop for everything creative. For more information, visit:
architectureartdesigns.com.

 

As we all know, some holiday party foods can be quite expensive. Fortunately, Independence Day is one of those holidays where BBQ or the classic hamburgers and hotdogs makes the perfect party meal. Get the grill master of the house to cook up some great food, and set up a quick table with all of the fixin’s. For some easy side dishes, check out epicurious.com. Below we have a simple recipe for some awesome Gazpacho Salsa from Jill Silverman Hough, a great compliment to any 4th of July party.

Photo by: Nigel Cox

Featuring recipe databases, message boards, and a variety of culinary-themed articles, Epicurious is the perfect website for food enthusiasts. Owned by Condé Nast Publications, Epicurious’ recipes are chosen from professional chefs, home cooks, and back issues of the Condé Nast magazines. For more information, visit: epicurious.com.

 

Gazpacho Salsa

Yield: 5 cups

Ingredients: 

6 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 medium tomatoes, cored, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions: 

Whisk oil, vinegar, garlic, paprika, coarse salt, and pepper in large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and toss to coat. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Toss to blend before serving.

 

Are you looking for the perfect summertime drink that also makes the perfect Independence Day party beverage? Rollingout.com has compiled the five top cocktails for the 4th of July! Featuring beautiful reds, whites, and blues, any of these top five drinks is sure to be a hit with all of your guests.

Photo by: Danielle Canada

Rolling Out brings you the latest in black news, entertainment, celebrity videos and more. Rolling Out has the scoop on everyone and everything you need to know. For more information, visit: rollingout.com.

Obviously you’ll need some entertainment for the kids, especially if you have several younger children running about. When the sparklers run out, surfnetkids has some simple 4th of July party games that are perfect for all ages from the youngest children to adults.

Photo by: SurfNetKids

SurfNetKids was created by Barbara J. Feldman who loves receiving and sharing the best educational tools and activities for kids of all ages. For more information, visit: surfnetkids.com.

 

Send your guests home in style with one of our seeded star favors! Get the set of red, white, and blue (pictured below) as the perfect Independence Day party compliment. Our seeded favors are eco-friendly, and they actually sprout and grow! Get yours here.

 

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Beat the Heat: 5 Unique Tips for Staying Cool at your Summer Wedding

It’s summertime, one of the most popular seasons for weddings. Unfortunately, it’s also the hottest season of the year. The biggest concern this summer is keeping your guests safe from the heat. We’ve pulled together five unique ways to keep your family and friends cool during your outdoor summer wedding.

 

1. POOL PARTY RECEPTION

We found this great summer wedding idea from popsugar.com. Invite all of your friends and family to a poolside reception after the ceremony. Tell all of your guests to bring bathing suits and pool inflatables, and grill up some hotdogs and hamburgers as a budget friendly reception.

Photo by: Anals + Dax via Style Me Pretty

Popsugar.com is an online resource that features all the latest celebrity news. Created by in-house staff writers for a predominantly female audience, popsugar.com brings the lastest trends in fashion, beauty, fitness, and more. For more information about popsugar, visit: popsugar.com.

 

 

2. ICE CREAM SUNDAE BAR

Who doesn’t love ice cream? We found this perfect summer wedding treat off of popsugar.com. Pair your favorite ice creams with a variety of fruits, nuts, chocolates, and more. Add some cute mason jars and vintage spoons as the perfect compliment to your rustic-themed wedding. Have your guests treat themselves before and after the ceremony to stay cool in the summer sun.

Photos by: Jose Villa Photography via Style Me Pretty

Popsugar.com is an online resource that features all of the latest celebrity news. Created by in-house staff writers for a predominantly female audience, popsugar.com brings the lastest trends in fashion, beauty, fitness, and more. For more information, visit: popsugar.com.

 

3. MISTERS

This idea from tahoeunveiled.com, is a bit unique and takes a bit of planning to pull off elegantly. Put up misters to keep your guests cool during your ceremony and reception. You could set up a couple of misters near the reception area or in trees, but be careful. Putting your misters too close to your guests might leave you all soaked and unhappy.

Photo by: Tahoe Unveiled

Tahoe Unveiled was created for brides planning a wedding in Lake Tahoe and features florists, wedding planners, and caterers. For more information about Tahoe Unveiled or Lake Tahoe, visit: tahoeunveiled.com.

4. HYDRATION STATION

This idea may not be the most unique, but it’s definitely a great idea, especially during the hottest parts of July and August. This idea is from offbeatbride.com. Use traditional lemonade or iced tea or spice it up with some fun fruit drinks. Try mixing water with different fruits and even herbs for a unique pop of taste. The Yummy Life has some unique ideas for naturally flavored water. Get them here. You might want to add a little sugar for a bit more flavor.

Photo by: Off Beat Bride

Offbeat Bride began as a promotional website for author Ariel Meadow Stalling. The website grew into a wedding blog with approximately a million viewers every month. For more information about offbeatbride, visit: offbeatbride.com.

5. UMBRELLAS/PARASOLS

This idea from estateweddingsandevents.com is a unique way to get your guests involved. Order parasols or umbrellas in bulk quantity. Choose just one color or a variety to keep your guests cool and safe from the harsh summer sun. Umbrellas and parasols are also great photo props. Whether staged or candid, you can be sure that all of your wedding photos will be unique and memorable.

Photo by: Green Wedding Shoes

Estate Weddings and Events provides rentals for weddings and other events. The Estate Weddings and Events website hosts a variety of venue information. For more information about Estate Weddings and Events, visit: estateweddingsandevents.com.

A Nature-Themed Birthday Bash

Photo by: The Carrie Murray Nature Center

Are you planning a special birthday? Why not try an outdoor or nature-themed party? Easy to do on a budget (you can repurpose things from around the house or outdoors), nature-themed birthdays are perfect for children of all ages. We’ve pulled together some decorations, games, food, and even party favor ideas to make your party extra special!

Decorations for a nature-themed party are easy and usually pretty cost-friendly. This wooden cupcake stand idea from Parents.com was created from paper-covered soup cans and wood rounds. The rest of the table was decorated with twigs and leaves from the backyard. The mushroom cupcakes in the picture below are also featured on the Parents.com website.

Photo by: Amanda Kingloff and Taryn Mohrman

 

Parents.com is the home website of Parents Magazine, parentsAmerican Baby, and FamilyFun brands. Parents.com is focused on bringing young mothers and families the information they need to live fun and healthy lives. For more information, visit: Parents.com.

 

Nature-themed parties provide built-in games and activities. Send your party guests on scavenger hunts, or ask them to go outside and draw the things they see in the backyard for their “nature book.” Hostess with the Mostess has several nature-themed party ideas, with food, decoration ideas, games, and more. At the party featured on the Hostess with the Mostess website, party guests planted their own nature gardens.

Photo by: Jen CYK Photography

 

Hostess with the Mostess is a website that is hostessfocused on bringing readers modern ideas through a daily blog and online community. Hostess with the Mostess brings you DIY projects, tips for hosting parties, and party planning tips. For more information, visit: HWTM.com.

 

Another fun idea at a nature-themed party is to set up a trail mix station. Party guests are given bowls, brown paper sacks, or anything else you have around your home and make their own trail mix. This idea is especially perfect in the case of food allergies. No one has to do without, because they can hand pick what they want to eat. Kojo Designs features step-by-step instructions on creating a trail mix buffet with helpful tips and pictures.

Photo by: Kojo Designs

Kojo Designs was created by sisters Kirstin and Jordan. Kojo Designs provides DIY projects for everyday, not just special occasions. For more information about Kojo Designs or Kirstin and Jordan, visit: Kojodesigns.com.

Don’t forget to send your party guests home with fun and memorable party favors! Here at Nature Favors, we have the perfect party favors for any nature-themed birthday party. Pictured below are our seeded party favors. Our seeded favors actually grow and come with pots, soil, and personalized favor tags.

Photo by: Nature Favors

How to Plan a Rustic Outdoor Wedding

 

Photo by: RiverJude.com

Rustic weddings are a lot of fun. They work well with any season of the year and, with just a few simple tricks, can be romantic and elegant affairs. But, on the other hand, creating the perfect rustic wedding takes plenty of work. So, we have several tips and tricks to make the planning just a little bit easier.

 

1. Candy Buffet.

Candy Buffets are just that – a buffet of candy. Relatively easy and with minimal cost (depending on how much and what kinds of candy you get), they add a bit of fun to your rustic wedding reception.

Project Wedding has several tips for planning and executing the perfect candy buffet, including keeping in mind the color of your candy, the weather, and how you will place and serve each different candy type.

Photo by: This Love of Yours Photography

Project Wedding is dedicated to helping brides plan their perfect wedding and hosts inspiration boards, forums, vendors, and more. For more information about Project Wedding, visit: projectwedding.com.

 

2. The Cake.

The cake below was created for an outdoor wedding in Hunt, Texas and is just one of the many different rustic-style wedding cake options available to you. Some brides don’t use any sort of nature decor on their cakes at all. How you choose to execute the cake is completely up to you, we just love the beauty and simplicity of this design.

For more cake ideas like this one, visit The Knot. From cakes with no nature decor to completely decked out nature-themed cakes, The Knot has several different cake styles that may help you decide exactly what you’re looking for.

Photo by: Kim Maguire

The Knot was founded in 1996 in an effort to offer a new spin on outdated wedding etiquette information. Now the internet’s most visited wedding planning website, The Knot offers modern advice, personalized tools, and more. For more information, visit: theknot.com.

 

3. The Decorations

Let’s be honest. Less than perfect decorations won’t destroy your wedding, but they are an important piece of the wedding puzzle. Rustic wedding decorations are pretty easy, and with some flowers, treated wood, and a steady hand, you can make most of them yourself.

Rustic Wedding Chic has some fun and simple rustic wedding signs for the big day. Most of these could be made out of odds and ends you already have in your home. Ask one of your crafty friends to borrow some burlap and white paint and create your own table runners. Another great idea is chalkboards and chalk. Write a special message for your guests to help the day go smoothly.

Photo by: Maggie Lord

Founded by Maggie Lord in 2009, Rustic Wedding Chic has everything brides need to know about planning a rustic wedding. For more information, visit: rusticweddingchic.com.

 

4. The Favors

Proper wedding etiquette dictates that wedding guests receive favors. So, to complement your rustic wedding, here at Nature Favors we have some beautiful, edible bird seed heart favors. These favors come personalized to suit your needs and make an amazing gift that your guests will treasure.

Photo by: Nature Favors

Planning a First Holy Communion – Tips and Tricks

The season of Holy Communion celebrations is quickly approaching, and if you’re planning a party for a child celebrating their First Communion, you may be wondering where to start. We’ve got you covered. From the wording of invitations and food ideas to party favors and the perfect punch recipe, we’ve got some tips and tricks to make planning the special day that much easier.

Designed by: Diana Gray

Diana Gray is a digital artist from  Northern California. She and her husband, Barry, create and sell invitations on Zazzle. They have been creating invitations for many different events since 2007 and are willing to create personalized designs. For more information, visit www.dlgray.biz.

 

Have you ever wondered which is the right way to word your Communion invitations? Every invitation creation website has a different version, but if you decide to make your own invitations, the possibilities are endless. Invitations, Etc. has First Communion wording for invitations, announcements, thank you notes, and more.

(Click photo to enlarge.) 

Invitations, Etc. is a website that has information on social invitations. They provide all the
information you might need, such as: wording, addressing, etiquette for brides, hosts, and guests, and even how to print your invitations.

 

Food for a First Holy Communion can range from hamburgers and hotdogs in your backyard to a catered meal in a fancy hotel or reception hall. It’s really up to you to decide how formal you want to make the event. If you decide to go the more simple route, Tasty at Home has some great food ideas for an outdoor backyard reception.

Photo by: David’s Soundview Catering

Located in Stamford, Connecticut, David’s Soundview Catering provides business and social catering services. They have menus for everything from hearty breakfasts to formal sit-down dinners. For more information, visit www.davidscatering.com

 

Continuing with the simpler outdoor theme, we found a white punch recipe on Food.com that is perfect for your Communion reception.

Photo by: Pamela

 

Food.com was founded by Troy Hakala and Gay Gilmore in 1999. It is based in Seattle and offers several tools for its visitors from categorized recipes to the “My Grocery List” app. Food.com currently houses over 475,000 recipes. For more information, visit Food.com.

White Holiday Punch

Total Time: 40 mins
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins

Ingredients:
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon almond extract
6 (2 liter) bottles carbonated lemon-lime beverage
*2 (1/2 gallon) cartons vanilla ice cream

Directions:
1). Mix sugar and water in saucepan
2). Stir constantly over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
3). Remove from heat, add evaporated milk and almond extract and let cool.
4). Chill until serving time.
5). Combine milk and mixture and lemon-lime drink in punch bowl just before serving.
6). Add and stir ice cream to break ice cream up into small pieces

*For a thinner punch, use less ice cream.

 

Photo by: Nature Favors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here at Nature Favors, we have the perfect party favor for your First Communion party guests. Our eco-friendly seeded cross favors add a great finishing touch to the day. The seeded crosses come in several different colors and the soil and pot are included.

Guides for Brides: Wedding Planning Tips

Planning a wedding is hard.

Photo by: Vitalic Photo

Vitalic Photo is a collaboration between photographers Chrissy Trujillo and Nicki Pasqualone. Based in Florida, the best friends love weddings and believe their job is to capture authentic photos of the wedding day.

 

You have to find the perfect invitations, pick out the most beautiful gown, decide on the right kind of cake, book the venue, create a registry, choose wedding favors, and through it all find some way to relax and enjoy yourself!

While we can’t make the process any less stressful, we can make it just a little bit easier. We have compiled some helpful information for brides who just don’t know where to start. Today, we’re talking invitations, dresses, cakes, and favors.

First, the invitations. Wedding invitations are difficult to figure out. What goes where? Miss to Missus has created a guide to assembling wedding invitations.

Miss to Missus

Miss to Missus is a blog by Papertalk Press a printing press in Toronto that specializes in wedding invitations and stationery. The editor, Michelle Lee also runs Stak Inc., a design and web agency, with her husband Jon.

 

Next, the wedding gown. Choosing your wedding gown may be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, aside from the actual wedding ceremony of course. This primer from SimplyBridal can make it easier  to choose a gown for your body type. Wed Me Pretty explains the primer in more detail.

SimplyBridal

 

Based in Los Angeles, California, SimplyBridal believes in quality, honesty, and value. Every wedding gown is sewn by in-house seamstresses and photographed in the Simply Bridal studio. Founder Lawrence Ng began SimplyBridal because he felt that every woman should be able to find their dream gown at an accessible price. 

 

 

Then, the cake. Deciding which cake is the right cake may be one of the most frustrating, yet tasty, wedding decisions. Some bakers may have up to 40 different flavor options, and tasting each and every one is a major hassle.

In addition, you have to decide what shape, and how many tiers, your cake should be. My Inspired Wedding has several charts that explain how many servings the most popular wedding cake shapes will serve.

My Inspired Wedding

 

My Inspired Wedding is a wedding inspiration site on the WedAlert Network. My Inspired Wedding provides the latest news in wedding fashion, trends, and planning. 

 

Finally, the wedding favors. Here at Nature Favors, we believe in helping you create the perfect party experience for your guests. And what says “thank you” better than the perfect favor? Eco-friendly and easily adaptable to any theme, our bird seed heart favors are a great gift that your guests will be sure to enjoy.

Photo by Nature Favors