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I probably don't need to remind you that Memorial Day is nearly here, and that means a FOUR DAY WEEKEND! Memorial Day parties typically lean towards red/white/blue decor, but if you'd like to go in a slightly different (yet still patriotic) direction, remember the poppy.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

The post WWI poem In Flander's Fields transformed the poppy into a symbol of rememberance throughout the world, particularly in former and current Commonwealth countries. This Memorial Day, take inspiration from the simple black and red flower and put the reason for the day front and center. The images above can serve as your inspirational springboard to a truly unique and meaningful celebration.

Poppy cookies and cookie cutter
Poppy pin display
(try navy blue in place of the black)
Marimekko Unikko poppy tablecloth
Marimekko Uniko poppy napkins
Poppy pin tutorial

And thank you, to those who have served.


Escort Card vs Place Card: What is the Difference?

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from my clients is: "What is the difference between an escort card and a place card"? These terms often get used interchangeably - even within the industry - but there is a difference! Most of the time, all you really need for your seating arrangements are escort cards.


Escort Cards are located on a centralized table and indicate what table the guest is seated at. Each guest (or couple) receives his or her own card with their assigned table number. Tented cards are the most typical, but these days, brides and grooms are getting much more creative with the presentation of the cards.

TIP: The cards escort the guests to their table.

Photo Source: Aruna B Photography


Place Cards on the other hand, are located at each place setting and indicate to guests exactly where to sit at the table. These are typically found at more formal events, but are not necessary, as most guests can decide where to sit around the table. 

Photo source: Invitations by Ajalon

Which do you think you'll use for your wedding or event? Have you seen any creative escort cards or place card displayes?


Weddings by Charlene Liang
Part of the Second City Soiree Contributor Series. Charlene is on Twitter @SweetchicEvents. Read her full bio here.


Makeup KITS for BUSY Days

wedding makeup kits

I don't remember the date specifically, but this Chicago Tribune article claims that Liz Claiborne's "Season of Color" compact came out in March of 1993. I'm guessing I received it as a birthday present the following month. This Swiss Army Knife of beauty was my makeup BFF for a solid year after that. 

With holes at the top for lipstick, mascara, and applicators, the flippy compact also contained eyeshadow, blush, and two mirrors on the inside. No bigger than a deck of cards, it was complete enough for full touch-ups after gym (or English, or band, or anytime I opened my locker...ok, I was one of those girls who never passed up an opportunity to fluff).

High school is long past, but busy days (wedding days!) still call for powerful makeup kits. While I haven't seen anything like "Season of Color" since, here are four compacts that pull double duty with aplomb.



The Clinique and Trish McEvoy compacts are the most complete of the bunch. Of course, Bobbi Brown's Shimmer Bricks are well-known and adored. You can brush over the entire brick for an overall glow, or use an applicator to swipe just specific colors for highlighting, eyeshadow, blush. The POP compact has similar uses, plus features the sweet butterfly shape. Have you seen any other versatile compacts?


Cool Kitchen Gifts for Mother's Day

Today's post is part of the #HolidayHQ Blog Hop. See the links below for more posts from the best party and entertaining experts, and join us tonight at 8pm EST on Twitter for our #HolidayHQ chat.


If Mom is a culinaire, why not surprise her with a gift that's both practical and a bit unique? I found these eight trendy items last month at the International Housewares Association show. Best in show, for sure!

Nambé Monroe Salt And Pepper Set contemporary serveware

Nambé Monroe Salt And Pepper Set - $150.00


This salt and pepper set nestles together with
complementary lines and contrasting materials —
a match made in culinary heaven.

Pressed Glass Goblet traditional glassware

Rosanna, Inc. Pressed Glass Goblet - $42.00, set of 4


Doesn't this remind you of Depression glass? These beautiful pieces would even make lovely votive holders.

Curtis Stone Workbench Cutting Board - $299.99

This sturdy chopping block features recessed
areas for mise en place and waste disposal for
a handy all-in-one cook station.

Raj Chef Knife eclectic knives and chopping boards

Raj Chef Knife - $45.00

Cooking is fun with the world's first patterned knife. Groovy!

Corkcicle contemporary barware

Corkcicile Bottle Chiller - $29.95

Insert into a wine bottle and it chills the wine
from the inside! The Corkcicle will maintain the
ideal serving temperature for an already-chilled
white wine for up to an hour.

Scentilizer MIST-WHISTLER, Frosted Glass - $349.95

Banish those lingering kitchen aromas! This product uses fragrant water vapor to reduce the dryness of indoor air. It also has a built-in speaker for pre-programmed music or to connect an iPod.


FFerrone Design Champagne Flute contemporary glassware

FFerrone Design Champagne Flute

This clever line of glassware by FFerone pulls
double duty. Shown here is the champagne flute...
or is it a cordial glass? You decide, with the flip
of the wrist.

Prepara Ice Balls contemporary barware

Prepara Ice Balls - $9.99, pk of 4

This ingenious product makes two-inch round balls of ice. You can fill it with just water or get creative with mint leaves, basil, juice, lemon or lime segments, etc. Large cubes are great for bourbon or whiskey drinks, as they won't melt as fast as regular ice.


  Please take a peek at the rest of the #HolidayHQ posts. So many terrific ideas for Mother's Day!

Housewife Bliss  |  Berry Good Homemade Ice Cream for Mother's Day
Celebrations At Home  | A Mother's Day "Tea"
PaperandPigtails.com  |  Free Printable Cards for Mother's Day
The Partybluprints Blog  |  Mother's Day Tea Party Tips & Recipes
Second City Soiree  | Cool Kitchen Gifts for Mother's Day
SkimbacoLifestyle.comMother's Day Breakfast in Bed
Thoughtfully Simple | Muffins and Mimosas for Mom
Valley & Co. | Effortless Entreating Ideas for Mother's Day

Join us tonight on Twitter at 8pm EST. Follow hashtag #HolidayHQ for more tips AND a chance to win a Hamilton Beach mixer and an ice cream maker!



How to WRAP GIFTS like an EXPERT

I am not the world's most efficient gift wrapper. Oh, I'll admit...my presents look nice when finished, but I almost always end up wasting more paper than I should. I used to carefully watch the ladies at the Marshall Field's wrapping counter, hoping their formidible skill with scissors, tape, and paper would rub off on me but - nothing. I'm always making trims here and there, winding up with a healthy pile of scraps. Not very economical, nor very green.



Someone who's much better at this is Sheryl Oberman, owner and founder of The Stationery Station in Highland Park, on Chicago's North Shore. They're celebrating their 35th anniversary this year (congrats!) and in addition to offering an exceptional invitation and stationery selection, Sheryl and co. are well known for their meticulously wrapped gifts in beautiful, embellished paper. I asked Sheryl if she'd film a quick tutorial on how to beautifully and efficiently wrap presents, and happily, she obliged. Take a look and learn!


Now that you know how to nicely wrap a present, if you're ever in Highland Park (Ravinia starts soon!), stop by The Stationery Station to pick up the perfect paper.


Looking for a hostess gift to put in that beautifully wrapped box? A few suggestions...


Gift box photo credit

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