Kids' Pizza Party

Pizza party

My niece's birthday is coming up and I heard there may be a pizza party in the works.  The thought inspired me to conceptualize what I might do if I were organizing the party (and had free time, cash to burn, etc.).  To wit, some ideas:

  • Buy a bunch of plain pies and encourage the kids to top them with pre-cut and beautifully arranged onions, green peppers, pepperoni, sliced olives, etc.
  • Decorate with traditional red and white checked table cloths, napkins, balloons, etc.
  • Stick candles in the pizza for the birthday boy or girl to blow out...hey, why not?
  • Serve cookies that look like little pizzas with a slice missing!

Pizza party decor Pizza cupcakes

NYC Valentine's Day Dinner Tablescape

DSC00382 Tonight we're hosting a Valentine's Day dinner for our family on the Upper West Side.  It turns out that our all-white furniture scheme is perfect for the holiday--it really makes all of that pink and red pop!  For our centerpiece, we used branches from upstate, spray painted them white, cut out construction paper hearts and scotch taped pink ribbon to them which we then tied to the branches.  We fed the remaining pink and red construction paper through our paper shredder and filled the glass vase with it.  It creates an additional decorative element while holding the branches in place.  We used a red runner and place mats (the latter as napkins) from Pottery Barn for the table linens and we'll fill white ramekins with Sweethearts candies (not exactly a great accompaniment to dinner, but fun and colorful). Finally check out the favors (below)!DSC00367 
 We found these great hearts, roses and lips (yep, lips, like those wax lips from when we were kids) magnets!  So we crossed the silverware at each place setting and topped them off with one of the magnets. They hold them together, look cute and our guests can take their magnets home. Love it!DSC00398 For our meal, we'll start with mixed olives, butter toffee cashews, an herbed French brie, a NY extra-sharp chedder, baguette, red and green grapes and a sparkling rose' (bubbly pink wine for Valentine's Day of course).  We'll follow with an orange walnut salad with sweet and sour dressing, mixed veggies and beef macaroni and cheese--simple and comforting.  We'll end the night with chocolate chip cake from Corrado Bakery in Grand Central. Recipes and more photos to follow!DSC00393 


Valentine's Day Party Prep!

FWandD spent the snowy, snowy day inside prepping for our upcoming Valentine's Day party.  It's amazing how therapeutic it can be to cut out pink and red construction paper hearts!  The menu is yet to be decided although ideas are being floated (read: the sparkling rose' and chocolate were no-brainers).  Photos to come!

Tree-Trimming Party Photos and Tips

FWandD had an amazing time this weekend surrounded by loved ones for a tree-trimming cocktail party with us in the country.  Everyone was dressed up in their season's best, kids were screeching with joy, food and wine flowed with abundance and, best of all, guests overjoyed us with the most unique and beautiful ornaments for the tree that we'd ever seen.  Each one provided a wonderful insight into the personality and style of the person who brought it; take for example the couple who made an ornament out of an antique toy block!  And the couple who selected a mini Swarovski crystal snowman!  FWandD also had a great time collecting branches to make "rustic" Christmas tree decorations as a centerpiece for the hors d'euvres table and smaller versions to place throughout the house.  We enjoyed sweet, delicious Holiday White Russians (find the recipe in the Recipes section of  Our menu consisted of shrimp cocktail, retro-style deviled eggs, potato puffs, mini pizzas, veggie egg rolls, mini crab cakes, stuffed mushrooms, crudite' and platters of crackers & cheese. We served a J. Lohr cabernet, a New Zealand sauvignon blanc from Starborough and a selection of beers including Stella of course (yum!).  One special guest made an amazing cream cheese, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts and kalamata olive dip to die for!  For parting gifts, we filled mini Christmas stockings with a selection of holiday chocolates.  We can't wait for next year!


Fourth of July Celebration

4th of July
Welcome back summer!  The Fourth of July brings back memories of sparklers sparkling, mosquitos buzzing, red, white and blue Italian ices melting on your sticky hands while the heat is rising.  And do you recall the exciting but terrifying sounds of the local fire works displays you watched with family and friends?

Now it's time to create an upscale version of the old-fashioned holiday right at home.  Keep it easy if you can, especially since the heat and, er, bugs will demand something more low-key.  For example, instead of decorating with red, white and blue balloons, stick with one of those colors and build around it.  Tie blue balloons to white rented chairs next to inexpensive round party tables covered in white table cloths (dollar store versions are fine).  For your red you can decorate cupcakes with red sugar crystals or add some red grocery store flowers as centerpieces.  e' voila!  Don't forget to have the kids wear bathing suits under their clothes so they can run through your sprinkler during the day.  Letting them dry off with and keep red, white or blue beach towels that you've purchased in bulk will add to the memories.

For the adults, check out the special Fourth of July drink ideas in the Recipes section.  Add a hint of patriotic fun by replacing drink umbrellas with little American flags from Oriental Trading Company.

Have fun!

Mother's Day Celebrations

Mothers Day Brunch

Mother's Day is a perfect excuse to shower the mothers in your life with love and special attention.  The most traditional gathering involves a Sunday brunch for mom and friends.  There's no need to become overwhelmed. Just simplify and plan ahead:

-Send mom and others a nice Mother's Day themed Evite so that you can track RSVPs

-Order a few platters of assorted make-ahead wraps (don't forget some veggie options), a green salad and a potato salad

-Make a chocolate cake for mom (see Recipes section for ideas)

-Fill some beautiful glass pitchers with tap water and ice and lay out clear plastic cups and lemon wedges

-Buy a few bottles of inexpensive prosecco or cava instead of champagne (Cristalino is a good bet) and ask guests to bring a bottle of bubbly, white, rose' or red wine if they ask what they can bring

-Pick up several grocery store or deli bouquets for the dining table and to display where guests will relax

-Download some mom-friendly songs from iTunes such as Judy Garland, Billy Holiday, Dolly Parton, Carly Simon, etc. and set up the iPod in a convenient spot for the party (make sure you have enough songs to last a couple hours)

-Don't forget silverware, plates, napkins and glasses, to wear a colorful, fun dress with chic flats since you may be on your feet a bit and, last but not least, a small gift for mom to open (photos of kids and grandkids in pretty frames always do well!)---oh and sit down with a glass of wine to appreciate the thoughtful scene before the guests arrive