Wednesday, July 23, 2014

5 Free Summer Printables

Surely one of these freebies can help brighten up your summer entertaining! I'm loving the pineapple garland - I may have to use that one above my bar cart. Click the links in the captions to go to each designer's website. Have fun!
Lemonade Stand | The Sweetest Occasion
Pineapple Garland | Studio DIY
Popsicle Tags | The TomKat Studio
Watermelon Ice Cream Cone Wrappers | Design, Eat, Repeat
Lemonade Stand | Tater Tots and Jello

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sale Alert: Personalized Wine Totes for the Park or Beach

I hope you guys aren't tired of gift ideas after yesterday, because I just came across this majorly marked down item and I have to share it. Lands' End has the perfect addition to your (or your bff's) next park picnic: personalized (or plain) canvas wine totes. The single tote is on sale for $3.99! (Though only in pink - but who doesn't love pink?) I love coming across things like this to stock up on for the times I'm in need of a last minute gift. Or if you have someone in mind already, add an initial for another $4. I think that's an amazing gift for under $10! Bonus points if you gift them the bag with a nice bottle inside. The double tote for red & white wine is $9.99, as is the single insulated version. Happy gifting!
 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Nautical Inspired Summer Birthday Gift Basket

I love an opportunity to put together a gift basket. One of my best friends celebrated her birthday last weekend and I decided on a nautical summer birthday theme. One thing I try to do is to make the basket a gift in itself - I don't like wasting money on an ugly wicker basket that will likely get thrown out. So I chose this rope-handled navy striped canvas bin that I know will get reused, and filled it with items to fit the theme. (See the full list of items with sources below!) I dressed up the package with crinkle paper shreds, clear cellophane, navy and fuchsia grosgrain ribbon, and a Sugar Paper letterpress gift tag
Top Row: Monogram Paper Cocktail Napkins | Organic Gummy Bears via Mouth | Whale Cheese Board (This Whale Bottle Stopper would have also been great) Middle Row: "Make a Wish" Matches via Hattan Home | Navy Striped Bin with Rope Handles | Sea Salt Caramel Salt Water Taffy via Mouth Bottom Row: "Ice, ice Baby!" Tumbler by Ashley Brooke Designs | Push-Pop Confetti via Hattan Home | Grady's Cold Brew Iced Coffe via Mouth

Friday, July 11, 2014

Weekend Links: The Latest in Summer Celebration

Our charming rental cottage on Peaks Island, Maine

Interesting story about how rosé became hip: The Making of a Rosé Colored Haze (PUNCH)

Game. Changer. How to Make Cocktail Snow Cones (Honestly Yum)

Mad Libs, meet alcohol: Choose Your Own Drinking Adventure (NYT)

If anything makes me homesick for Maine, it's summer: 14 Maine-Inspired Recipes (Bon Appétit)

Picnicking this weekend? Find some inspiration on my Picnic Design board on Pinterest.

Cheers!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Travel Hosting: 5-Step Guide to Perfect Welcome Gifts

A true test of hosting skills is to take them on the road. I love renting a house and inviting friends to join for a long weekend. These photos are from trips to Peaks Island, a tiny and ridiculously charming island off the coast of Maine. Like hosting any other party, it's best to plan the details in advance. (Preparation for celebration!) Here are my 5 tips for great welcome gifts.

1. Keep it local. Your gifts should reflect the destination - there's a reason you chose it in the first place! Search for items made by local companies, and if you're giving an edible gift make sure it's seasonal and locally made. 

2. No crap. Don't give something just to give it. It's easy to be tempted to buy cheap filler items, but instead go for quality over quantity. Your guests will be packing these gifts to take home, so they should be worthy of limited luggage space. The last thing you want is for your gift to be left behind because it wasn't memorable or useful.

3. Be mindful of the method of transportation. If your guests will be flying, make sure any liquids are 3oz or less. And stay away from bulky items that will be difficult to fit into a carry-on.

4. Bonus points for personalization. A gift that includes your guests' name or initials makes each of them feel uniquely appreciated.

5. Wide range of use. Look for items that are useful both during and after your trip, instead of a trinket that will likely sit in a drawer and eventually get tossed in the garbage. When your guests use the gift again, they'll be pleasantly reminded of the trip.
These L.L. Bean tote bags fulfill all of my guidelines - they're made locally, are of good quality, take up minimal room in a suitcase, and they're monogrammed. Plus guests could use them during the trip for a beach day, or for a number of uses afterwards. Perfect. I found the lobster gift tags in a google image search and printed them for free. On this trip, my guests were arriving in the late afternoon - cocktail hour! So along with their gifts, I greeted the hungry travelers with this spread of appetizers and a pitcher of blueberry mojitos (again, thinking local).
A pre-stamped postcard from the destination with a pen waiting for the guests in their rooms is a thoughtful gesture. The buoys - another nod to the destination - were marked with each guest's initials and were used as wine glass charms during the trip. (I learned during our first trip that dishes can pile up quickly in a rental house, so this is a great way to reduce abandoned stemware.) I found the buoys on Etsy by searching for "Maine wedding favors" - give this a try for your destination. Most wedding favors are not wedding specific, and can easily apply to your trip like these did. 
Another destination-themed gift. Easy to pack, and can be used again. (If you happen to be in the market for lobster socks, you can find the adult pair at Banana Republic. They're also available in gray & light blue.) 

Monday, July 7, 2014

5 Free, Pretty July Downloads for Desktop & Mobile

I hope everyone had a fun 4th of July weekend! We hosted a little potluck BBQ, putting my red, white and blue bar cart to good use, and then really lucked out when we were able to view the East River fireworks from the roof of our building. We decided to format our July 4th party as a potluck because we knew that on long summer weekends, people's plans can be up in the air - meaning a lot of last minute RSVP's. Hosting a potluck eliminates any stress over having to buy more food to serve at the last minute. I'll share my potluck planning tips with you soon!

As I mentioned last month, I'm going to use these tech download posts to check in re: the month ahead. This week I'm going to be sharing my travel hosting tips, as promised. I don't have many big plans for July, which is great because August is going to be full of travel - so I'm going to shift my planning focus from parties to our summer vacation. I LOVE planning trips. Especially ones that include vineyard visits! So this month I'm anticipating lots of terrace lounging, guide book reading, impromptu picnics, and outdoor movie nights in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Isn't that what summer is all about?? Hopefully I can also manage a few Pure Barre classes to offset all the rosé and rooftop pizza I've been enjoying. 

Here are my favorite freebies for this month. As always, click the links in the captions to go to the designers' sites to download. Happy July!!
Ashlee Proffitt
KT Small For Design Love Fest
Oana Befort
KT Small for Design Love Fest
Sugar Paper