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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

{Happy Customers} Red & White Valentine's Day Pompom Garland

I've known about the talented Brenda Byers, of Great Stitch for a long while and recently had a chance to meet her at BASH.  She's one of the sweetest people and I just heart her a lot!  A few months back she ordered a pompom garland from me to use in a photoshoot and I just wanted to share a few of the pics!











Everything looks absolutely adorable and I LOVE how she added the banner flags to it.  Thank you, +Brenda Byers for sharing the photos with me and for 'TURNING UP' the garland - I LOVE IT!  If you haven't seen Brenda's work go here, here and here!!!!

If you'd like to purchase the red & white garland, it is available in my Etsy shop!



Monday, February 9, 2015

{Real Party} Mardi Gras Masquerade Dinner Soiree with PartyCheap.com

Mardi Gras, Masquerade, Fat Tuesday

Recently, I had an amazing opportunity to work with a party supply company, PartyCheap.com where I was sent a huge box full of product to share ideas for hosting a swanky and glam-filled masked Mardi Gras soiree!

As a busy working wife and mom, there are very few opportunities that I have to get together with my gal-friends and partay.  So, I knew that the ideas I had in mind for this affair was going to have to include good company, good food, good cocktails and good fun!  I reached out to my dear friend, Naleli of Jewel Mine and asked her if she'd be game to calling up the ladies and having a Masquerade themed dinner party at her home.  I was SO excited when she agreed to serve as hostess!  We've been party buddies for many years so, I knew that I was going to be in good hands when it came to the guest list. I told Naleli, I'd handle the food and decor and she could handle the drinks!  This was certain to be a fab affair! 

I should probably back up at this point and share how I came to collaborate with PartyCheap.com on this event. 

As it goes, sometime late last year (2014), I saw that the site started following me on Twitter.  I  honestly NEVER heard of this company before and immediately went to peruse their site and I must say I was pretty impressed by the variety of products they offered.  Many of the items listed on their shop, I'd not seen before and I admittedly was anxious to work with them.  Now, I am not one to just get on Twitter and approach a company for collaborations.  However, I had a newfound spark in me and a goal for 2014 to work with a brand that I loved.  What a perfect time for opportunity to present itself!  I sent a quick tweet back to PartyCheap.com, threw caution to the wind and mentioned that I'd love to work with them!  Well, a few tweets and emails later and a great big old box of the most AMAZING quality party decor I've come across in a while - and here we are. 

Back to the details of the party!

Elements that inspire:

- Gorgeous Venetian style handheld masks
- Simple and quick 'Photo Booth' area
- Glammed up Purple, Gold and Green decor
- Beads, beads, beads galore!

 More details and a list of supplies follow, at the end of this post.




Mask, beads, New Orleans, Party

Mardi Gras Street Sign, beads, fat tuesday

Frech Quarter Hurricane, New Orleans, Fleur de Lis

NOLA street signs, French Quarter, Bourbon Street, Rue D'Orleans

Party, mardi gras, flowers

recipes, desserts, cheese, Mardi Gras, Fleur de Lis

masked party, soiree, fete, New Orleans

Mardi Gras, Champagne, cocktails

Purple Yellow and Gold Mardi Gras, Masks


Mardi Gras, Beads, Party Ideas

Mardi Gras, Beads, Tuesday, New Orleans

Mardi Gras salad, Mixed Greens Salad, Fleur de lis

Cajun, Creole, Blackened, New Orleans, Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras dinner party, Louisiana dishes




masquerade, masks, mardi gras masks

photo booth, mardi gras, new orleans

cake ideas, mardi gra party

cake, fat tuesday, mardi gras

framed word art, mardi gras word art

cookies, mardi gras, fat tuesday, masks

New Orleans dessert, Beignets, Mardi Gras

mask, beads, mardi gras


PartyCheap, mardi gras dessert ideas, mardi gras party decor


When I looked at the Mardi Gras items available though PartyCheap.com's site I definitely knew that I wanted to head for a more glammed up look.  I saw that they offered a great selection of the most beautiful Venetian style handheld masks and immediately used them as the overall inspiration for the party.  Since we were planning a sit down dinner I came up with a delicious and easy menu.  We dined on Red Beans & Rice w/ Sausage, Louisiana Chicken Pasta and a Mardi Gras Mixed Green Salad w/Pecan Viniagrette (btw, this salad was so good - and perfect for Mardi Gras, the mixed spring greens with their purple and green leaves mixed in well with segmented orange slices made for a perfect yellow, green and purple dish!).  Before dinner, the guests snacked on Pecan Praline Baked Brie with crackers - this appetizer was a big hit!

The Designer Tableware that I selected from PartyCheap.com were just the icing on the cake for me!  You almost couldn't tell they were paper.  I knew I had to come up with a way to highlight them.  I found purple chargers and then layered the plates alternating the gold with the printed and green bowls that were placed at the very top.  Each place setting had a strand of beaded necklaces for guests to throw on once they were seated.  I also added a name card on top of the beads.  These were easy to make.  I simply printed out each guests name onto cardstock that was cut to size and backed with glitter paper.  Initially the beautiful Fleur de Lis balloon holders (I used them here as place card holders) were going to be used to hold each name card, but I ended up using them for the food items instead. The photos show you the options you have by using the holders.  I also used gold and purple napkins bundled together and placed them inside of the stemware.

For our table centerpiece I used an Ivory and Gold long nose mask and we elevated it on a box that was covered with a light gold length of fabric and added more beads to the table, along with masks owned by our hostess and tea light candles!  It almost gave us a voodoo vibe.....glamorously eerie nonetheless!

Naleli, came up with a delicious champagne cocktail that we dubbed the French Quarter Hurricane (A combination of Passion Fruit Juice, Pineapple Juice, Pineapple Rum and champagne).  We put a pitcher of the drink on the bar, so guests could refill as they pleased.  In the bar area, we hung a gold 3-tier shimmering chandelier with large purple and green art tissue honeycomb balls.  A few Mardi Gras beads were strewn about the bar for another festive touch.  Also, we placed a few Mardi Gras street signs on the wall above the bar to finish our look! BTW - loved that the street signs had a different name on each side.  Gotta have options!


After we finished our delicious meal, the ladies went off to take advantage of the 'photo booth' area we set up and donned a few of the fabulous masks.  This was so simple to set up.  We used a gold metallic curtain as our backdrop and just a few of the tissue honeycomb balls.  Our masks were placed near the photobooth area in a large vase and guests chose their favorite look and we snapped away.  One tip for the perfect photobooth is to have an area large enough to get as many people as possible in your photo and be sure to offer fun prop options.  Make sure you have good lighting an place your camera on a tripod and set the timer to take the photos.  Make sure that everyone plays up the theme of the event and snap away!

The desserts were kept to a minimum.  We served sugar cookie masks, cake and beignets, of course!  I found a mask cookie cutter on Amazon and used it to make my version (as best I could) of feathered masks.  I also found a plain white cake at my local grocery store.  I wanted to add a bit of color so, I added extra frosting in yellow, green and purple to give the cake a 'feathered' appearance.  Lastly we fried up some beignets and dumped a bunch of powdered sugar on them!  Can't have a Mardi Gras without beignets, I always say!  To decorate the dessert table, I added a few gold plastic Fleur de Lis wall decorations, a mardi gras fabric bunting, tissue balls and of course, BEADS.  Just to add a bit more visual interest to the table, I placed a wire wall hanging on the table and dressed it up with a glitter garland and leaned a mask against it.  Another fun element was a framed quote that let's all the guests know there is fun to be had - Laissez bon temps rouler!  Let the good times roll!  We had such a great time at our 'masquerade', we enjoyed plenty of laughs, great food and drinks and most of all we had fun!

Check out PartyCheap.com for all your Mardi Gras and celebration needs!

I received items from partycheap.com as part of a product feature on this blog.  No monetary compensation was given.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, February 2, 2015

{Product Review} eShakti.com

Last month I was contacted by eShakti.com to sample their site and product (custom fit dresses, shirts and skirts).  Now of course, I'm wondering....um....I'm not a fashionista, but I'd be a fool to turn down free clothes!  Hello!  Where do I sign up?  I was totally game and I thought this would be a really fun way to share a bit of my personal fashion style on my blog.  That sounds funny.....personal fashion style.....oh if you only knew.....It was also perfect timing because I was prepping for BASH and would need something pretty and fancy to wear to one of the evening dinners.

eShakti.com is a shopping site that allows you to choose from a wide selection of garments that you can customize.  The garments range in price anywhere from around $30-$130 at most.  The sizes range from 0-36.....but I think the best part is the customize feature! 

I was so excited about the option to customize my garment because I know what styles work for my body.  Sometimes when I go dress shopping, I'll find a piece that I love but the hem is too high, or the arms are too long so, I get disappointed when I can't get it or need to have it tailored.  Knowing what style of dress works best for me allowed me to choose the areas of the dress that I could customize.

I am very self-conscious about my legs and don't like anything above the knee.  I have short arms and know what sleeve length best suits my arms and decolletage.  The customize feature was just what I needed.  I was able to choose the type of sleeve I wanted, I could adjust my neckline or collar style and whether or not I wanted the dress to come to my knees, above or below.  The whole process of ordering was so different - I've never even seen a site that allows the buyer to customize your garment so easily. This was a definitely plus for me.

After looking through a few pieces I finally decided on this darling little number. 

I knew it would be perfect for BASH!  I placed my ordered and when it arrived, I thought it was just gorgeous, but when I tried it on, I fell in LOVE with it.  I was forever changed!  This was like the first time in a long time, since I gained weight (the joys of marriage and motherhood) that I tried on a pretty dress and just fell in love with the style and fit.  This dress was perfect.
So, fast forward to BASH and the final dinner of the conference....with Eddie Ross.  Honestly, I was working up until the last minute and almost didn't change until someone said that we were going to be called on stage and should wear something nice. So, I went back to my room, put my pretty dress on and I felt like a princess the enter night because I got compliment after compliment on the dress.   I told EVERYONE that I got it from eShakti.com!  Some of them were excited to go to the site and shop for themselves!

Now my beautiful dress is hanging in my closet waiting for another party or soiree to be donned in.  In the meantime, I'll be filling up my cart with more pieces from this site.  Very rarely do I try on outfits I order online that fit me to a T!  I'm so happy with the whole eShakti .com experience!

Here are a few photos of me in my 'princess' dress with Kim Stoegbauer of TomKat Studio, Eddie Ross, Creative Director for Better Homes & Gardens and the infamous Amy Birlew of Dimply Sweets!



I can't get over how cute Amy and I are - working our 'Marla Pose' -
hands back, chest out, chin tilted!  WERK!


Here is a coupon code "cupcakewishesandbirthdaydreams" exclusively created for you to get 10% OFF when you shop at eShaktivalid from 01/03/2015 – 02/03/2015

Please note:
Code has to be entered in the ‘promotional code’ box.   It is not case-sensitive.  

Code can be used any number of times until the validity period. 

It can be clubbed with any other promotional offer, gift coupon or gift card in the same order unless explicitly specified otherwise in the offer conditions.

This discount code is not applicable on clearance / sale, gift cards & overstock categories.
Not applicable on previous purchases.



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