Chicago Blogger Network




Blogs to Love

ABCD Design
At Home with Kim Vallee
Celebrations at Home

The Daily Basics
Everyday Celebrating
The Gracious Girl
Housewife Bliss
Hostess with the Mostess
It's in the Details
The Party Bluprints Blog
Pepper Design Blog
Thoughtfully Simple
Unchained Kitchen



"Branches & Beads from the Beach" on Celebrations.com

Celebrations.com is wraping up their Outdoor Decorating Week, and today's featured blogger is yours truly!  Thanks for the nice writeup, guys!

I've created a very simple centerpiece that evokes the feeling of a beachside cottage but is made with materials from the local craft store.  Click for how-to details:



Fabulous Circus party!

Wow.  Wow, wow, wow is all I could say while looking at the gorgeous details in this fantastic Circus Birthday Party on Kara's Party Ideas.  Circus themes have been on my mind recently as I'm in the midst of planning a circus/carnival event for 800 adults.  Her party was for about 10 kids, but the details are so beautiful that you could easily pull from her ideas and create this party for anyone.  Have a look...


"Rock your Block (Party)" on Chicagonista

Whether you're in the city or suburbs, summertime is block party time.  What to do about non-residents crashing?  How to keep kids entertained?  How to keep adults entertained?  Find out all that and more, this this week on Chicagonista.com!

photo credit


Tennis, Memories, and Pimm's Cup

What the Mint Julep is to Derby, the Pimm's Cup is to Wimbledon. What's a Pimm's Cup? So glad you asked. But first, a little story:

I originally planned this entry for today because we're in the midst of Wimbledon, but soon realized I have a personal connection to Pimm's and this time of year - on July 4, 1999 I arrived in England for a study abroad program (yes, the irony of going to England on Independence Day was not lost on me), and there at the Oriel College bar is where I first became acquainted with this classic British summer cocktail. I've kept in touch with several people from the program over the last ten years, and Mr Pimm is among them.

photo source

So what's in a Pimm's Cup? You start with Pimm's No. 1 - a gin-based digestif with notes of spice and citrus. From there, add ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, or soda water. Garnish with cucumber, orange, lemon, mint, strawberries, or apple slices. At the Oriel bar it was made with lemon-lime soda, orange, mint, and cucumber. For what it's worth, I sampled Pimm's Cup at various establishments throughout Oxford (for research and quality control purposes, of course), and never once saw it made with strawberries or apple...sounds yummy, though.

As I said, there are endless variations. Here's my favorite:

Fill a tall glass with ice
Add 1 part Pimm's No. 1 and 2 parts lemon-lime soda
Stir gently
Add a cucumber spear, sprig of mint, and orange slice. Muddle the orange and mint a bit.
This recipe can be adjusted for a pitcher or punch bowl batch - just increase the amounts but keep proportions the same.

Enjoy! Whether you're at Wimbledon, in a dark college pub, or on your Wicker Park rooftop, Pimm's is a perfect summer cocktail! (Also try this variation, a Zin Cup made with wine)

Pimm's No. 1 is available at most large liquor stores, such as Binny's and Sam's Wine & Spirits.



Spice up the conversation with Tabletopics

Have you heard of Tabletopics?  They're little cards with big questions, grouped by theme!  Hosting a bridal shower, a barbecue, a golf outing, or a book club?  Maybe something else?  There's probably a Tabletopics set for your event!

While it would be fun to just sit around and flip through the questions, I can think of several other uses for these:

1) At an event where people don't know each other very well.  Leave the cards lying around anyplace where people might congregate.  The ice will break and conversation will start to flow!

2) As a creative place setting.  Prop the cards up with a placecard holder, and write the guest's name directly on the card.  If you don't want to do that, get some sticky notes in a color that compliments the card, snip off the sticky part, attach that to the card (cut to size), and write their name on the label you've just created.  Regular labels will be too sticky, and potentially damage the card.

3) As a drink coaster. Take a set of "photo coasters" and instead of a photo, slip a card inside.  Functional and fun!

The Tabletopics web site also has some food, drink, and playlist ideas for decade parties - check it out for 60s, 70s, and 80s inspiration.


Tabletopics are available at Elevenzees, 1903 W Division St, Chicago or online at tabletopics.com

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