Summer Cocktails

Summer is one of my favorite times of year to gather with friends outside and enjoy a refreshing cocktail.  While summer is winding down, that doesn’t mean the fun has to!

Make use of the bright, fun colors of summer and use those as your theme for your cocktail party.  I used my favorite colors, coral, pink and aqua blue.  The invitations were designed with a summer feel, and with my colors.  Make sure your guests know it’s a cocktail party and if including appetizers that it is clearly stated.

The key to a successful cocktail party is to have a signature drink, and a few other drink options, which will make being a host much easier.  Plus your guests will be impressed.

For this summer party I made a fun and flirty spiked pink lemonade cocktail, which was a hit! Here’s the recipe modified from Southern Living:


  • 4 (12-oz.) can frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 9 (12-oz.) bottles light beer chilled
  • 3 cup vodka, chilled
  • Ice
  • Garnishes: fresh strawberries


  1. Stir together first 3 ingredients. Serve over ice. Garnish, if desired.

Other elements to a great cocktail party are using fresh fruit and flowers that are in season to tie your theme and colors together.  I always get mine from our local farmers market.  To make it easy on youself and your guests serve finger foods and appetizers that don’t require utensils.  Make a few items yourself that you can prepare before the day of the party.  Serve a few items you can warm up quickly and put out right before guests arrive such as cheese and vegetable plates, and spanakopita .

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

Who doesn’t love margaritas, tacos, and piñatas? So why not celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a taco themed party! If you want to go all out this year order a taco truck to be stationed at your party. However, if you’re keeping it to a DIY menu here are a few tips.

For the main filling I suggest grilled chicken breasts and shrimp, marinated in olive oil, red pepper, black pepper, a little hot sauce and salt. For red meat lovers, I suggest grilled flank steak.  Add fresh cilantro or parsley to the grilled chicken, shrimp and flank steak.

The following condiments will compliment your taco bar: shredded iceberg lettuce or spinach, shredded cheddar cheese, queso dip with bell peppers, guacamole, light sour cream, medium salsa and a fruit salsa like mango, pineapple, or peaches, hot sauce, diced tomatoes, and seven layer taco dip.  Have the option of hard and soft tacos. Black beans and Mexican rice are easy sides that take minutes to make.

Don’t forget the piñata and your signature drink such as Corona with lime or this Beer ‘Garita recipe from My Recipes.

DIY Mini Piñatas from One Charming Party

DIY Mini Pinatas from One Charming Party

Beer ‘Garitas

  • Yield: Makes 4 servings
  • Prep time:5 Minutes

My Recipes Beer 'Garits


  • 1 cup frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
  • 1 cup tequila
  • 1/2 cup orange liqueur
  •   Crushed ice
  • 1/2  to 1 cup cold beer


1. Stir together first 3 ingredients until well blended. Fill 4 medium glasses with crushed ice. Pour limeade mixture evenly into glasses. Add beer to taste.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Minute Maid Frozen Concentrate for Limeade, José Cuervo Especial tequila, and Triple Sec for orange liqueur.

St. Patrick’s Day Inspiration

St. Patrick’s Day isn’t just for the Irish!  While my celebration of St. Patrick’s Day has changed over the years, especially this year with a 6 month old, I still enjoy a reason to get together with family and friends.  You can get creative, especially with March Madness going on at the same time this year, with  a beer tasting and Irish food items such as corn beef.  Below are some other creative and fun recipes, party ideas, and treats that are sure to please your guests.

1. No Bake Thin Mint Cookie Truffles/Six Sisters’ Stuff

2. Rainbow Oreo Pops/The Sweet Swiper

3. Shamrock Cookies

4. Leprechaun Cookies/Sweet Sugar Belle

St. Patrick's Day Inspiration from Half Baked - The Cake Blog

For details click on image and check out Half Baked – Cake Blog.

For details click on image and check out Tidy Mom

1.  Lucky Leprechaun Cookie Bark/Your Home Based Mom        

2. St. Patrick’s Day Free Party Printables/Living Locurto

3. Rainbow Cookie Party Favors/Hostess With The Mostess

4. Shamrock Pops with Printable Flags/Oopsey Daisy

Elizabeth & Ryan Tying The Knot 10.29.11

As a wedding and event planner it was such a pleasure to style and design “Tying the Knot” bridal shower for Elizabeth.

Inspiration for this bridal shower began with the theme “Tying the Knot”, which was reflected throughout the design of the event.  For example, the flower arrangements had flowers that were in the shape of hearts or were tied.  Another example is in the wooden plaques such as Bride and Love.

In addition to the primary “Tying the Knot” theme we used the word game scrabble.  The Bride-to-Be enjoys playing a word game similar to scrabble on her iPhone and we carried that theme throughout the event design in the scrabble pieces on the tables and again in the wooden plaques.  Our color palette included shades of purple, red, orange, and grey, which are Elizabeth’s wedding colors, and were used in the flower arrangements, decorations, and food.

The bridal shower was held outside on a private patio.  We wanted the atmosphere to be warm and inviting, yet have a fun and modern vibe like the Bride-to-Be.  Vignettes were set up throughout the patio including a main food table, drink bar, dessert bar, seating area, and gift station.

The menu consisted of mini lunch dishes such as quiche, chicken salad on croissants, shrimp shooters, prosciutto and melon skewers, turkey rolls, brie with heart cut out filled with jam, and Crudite’s (vegetables tucked in tiny glasses).  The Dessert bar featured red velvet cake pops with purple icing, ultra-violet vanilla cupcakes, and chocolate cups filled with fruit and chocolate straws.  Playing on the Bride-to-Be’s color scheme we went with a festive drink bar with Bellini’s, Mimosa’s, and Sangria.  Mason jars were used to serve the cocktails and mini mason jars were filled with purple and orange jelly beans as party favors.

Vendor Credits:

Event Design and Styling – Sarah Sofia Productions

Photography – Sarah Sofia Productions

Floral Arrangements – Sarah Sofia Productions

Cake Pops – Nicole Farrell

Chocolate Filled Fruit Cups – Whole Foods (we filled them with fruit and added pirouettes as edible straws)

Cupcakes  -Bakery Gingham (We added the Bride-to-Be’s initials from Hobby Lobby)

Croissants – Pistacia Vera

Food, Drinks & Party Favors – Bridesmaids

Spring Has Sprung Series: March Madness Party

The Big Dance is final here and it’s time to throw a party that will be a slam dunk!  The weather is starting to break and there’s no better time to fire up the grill with sliders, turkey sausages, and new potato wedges with parsley.  Don’t forget the chips and dip for those loving to snack through the game. 

Attention to detail is always important, even if it’s a casual gathering.  Decorate with orange round balloons and your favorite college team logo that is playing in the NCAA Tournament.  Have trash cans or tubs with your favorite teams logo filled with drinks.  Don’t forget the flowers, which can be as simple as red roses arranged in a low bowl in honor of the Buckeyes or blue hydrangeas in a glass vase for UNC. 

Grilled Sliders: Serves 12


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley or dried 
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • Dijon mustard
  • 12 soft dinner rolls, such as potato rolls, split
  • 1/2 pound cheddar cheese
  • 3 tomatoes, sliced


  1. Preheat the Grill. In a bowl, combine the ground beef, the seasoning and Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add cheddar cheese slices to the sliders and mustard and tomato slices to the dinner rolls. Then roll the tops.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip: Makes 3 cups


  • 1 (16-ounce) contrainer prepared spinach dip
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
  • 1 (8-ounce) package grated Swiss cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano


  1. In a microwave-safe medium bowl, combine dip, chopped artichokes, cheese, and oregano.  Microwave on High for 3 minuets, or until cheese is melted and mixture is hot and bubbly.
  2. Serve immediately with veggies and pieces of sour dough bread.