Today I’m sharing my “party picks” for the year — fun supplies that you can have at the ready to make this year more festive and fabulous than ever before!


**One bit of housekeeping before we get the party started:   Please note that if you ever have trouble reading this content from your email, you can always click over to my site directly to view it there.  Thank you!**


The Super Bowl is just around the corner, and if you love Kitchen Papers’ clever creations like this chevron paper runner for your dining table,


Or these checkered placemats that I used for last year’s Fourth of July celebration,


…then you need to stock up on this “Touchdown” paper runner for your Superbowl spread. superbowl

In the off season it can sub in as wrapping paper for the football fans in your life.  SCORE!!!


Next up, a Valentine’s Day must-have:  Doilies!  Be sure to add these to your cart whenever they cross your path — for food presentation and beyond.  This week I used them to pretty up snacks for my daughter’s class: 


Snacks_2 snack_1

…but next week I want to use them for something like this — so lovely!



A kernel of wisdom:  With the Oscars just weeks away, it’s time to start planning for popcorn.  I was so impressed with my aunt over the holidays because -on “movie night”- she pulled out her handy “Stir Crazy” and popped up batch after batch of light, airy and delicious popcorn.  The little ones’ eyes lit up at the sight and young & old alike followed her around the kitchen as if she was the pied piper. Popcorn_maker

For extra credit, salt away these charming popcorn containers (available at Party City and Shop Sweet Lulu, among others) so you’ll be ready for the Oscars, sleepovers, movie night, etc.




If the thought of salty popcorn has got you thirsty, try introducing a new beverage such as Elderflower into the the mix.  This pleasantly sweet/tart elixir can be enjoyed alone, or with a splash of sparkling water or white wine.  Available, locally, at Whole Foods and Terrain.



Would you like a straw with that?  I can’t get enough of these festive, colorful paper straws!  Remember the “granny straws” from my Mike’s Organic luncheon this past summer?


Here’s the stash that I’m tucking away for this year:



Even if they tend to get a little soggy, I just love the burst of color that they lend when serving up sips.  Don’t you?


Speaking of serving…I would love to add to my collection of serving pieces this year.  Namely, with an oversized wooden cutting board that doubles as a buffet tray.


Everything looks more appetizing served on one of these beauties!


As for serving up dessert, I have my eyes on one of these gorgeous milk glass cake stands from Layla Grace.


When it comes to linens, I am a fan of basic burlap — which offers a great look for an unbeatable price.  Next time you’re at Michael’s be sure to pick up a runner for effortless, au naturel summer tablescapes.


and grab some burlap garland to get your fix of shabby chic.


This year, I also have my sights set on a high impact, punchy floral for a playful picnic or a Southern style ladies lunch.  This little number will do just the trick.


And, to let my guests know which way to the party, I love these chalkboard arrows that I came across at Terrain.  What fun!


Finally, the last item on my party wish list is something that money can’t buy — and that’s a “party-perfect attitude.”  I’m talking about a “roll with the punches,” laugh it off and let’s enjoy the moment type of joie de vivre.  This is always easier to discuss than to accomplish.  As you might imagine, like any hostess, I suffer my fair share of anxiety, mistakes and disappointments.  Witness:  Snow on the eve of my “McQueen Halloween” party:


My daughter’s “Butterfly Birthday” that was a total wash out and required moving from the backyard to the basement.  A power outage capped off the festivities.


Let’s not forget the chili cups mishap…

Chili_Plastic_ Cup Maria_cup

And, finally, even the most seasoned Disney party princess is not immune to pitfalls.  At the end of a warm day, by the time we got around to cutting my daughter’s sweet birthday cake…


Princess Aurora had suffered a rather embarrassing wardrobe malfunction!  YIKES!


So, here’s to knocking our socks off in preparation for our parties this year but to letting loose at “showtime”and to enjoying some good laughs with friends.  If disaster strikes, we can be at the ready with another batch of cocktails and this fool proof line: “It’s not a party until…”




Images: Shop Sweet Lulu, Apres Fete, Layla Grace, Pinterest, Anthro blog, CT.