Friday, February 21, 2014

American Hustle Oscar Party

Just once, I'd love to throw a party without having to stick to the world's tightest budget.  Last year's Oscar party's theme was Les Miserable and I really loved picking a nominated movie and doing the whole party around a theme.  The issue I ran into is french food is expensive.  Without even being aware I ended up spending over $300 on just food (mostly Gruyere) for like 10 people.  The number one thing I walked away from that party was, watch your food budget.

This year my theme is American Hustle.


I really love the 70s, I grew up then and I'm still crazy for disco music. I thought ladies would look chic in their deep v-neck dresses and poufy hair.  I just bought a disco ball for the kitchen.  We've been letting Brian's hair grow out for the past couple of months and I'm going to try to curl it in a fashion I envision as Bradley Cooper, but in reality, we'll just have to see.

My invitations ended up way too simple.



I just couldn't quite get them where I wanted them to.  I thought the gold ombre effect would stand out more but it didn't really do the trick.  I did try to find the closest (free) copy of the actual font used in the movie poster.  I guess upon closer a closer look, I should have all capped my title and yes, my "e" is off, I think I like my "e" better.

I found these on pinterest and they were huge inspirations (that I apparently didn't use):


I really loved everything about this "vector."  I wanted to use it soooo bad.  I wanted to copy it sooo bad.  But I have picmonkey.com and basically MS Paint to do all my stuff and I played around with some hearts in Word for a while and then gave up.  If I was a little more sure of myself I would have hand drawn it with some plates and a ruler but then I thought I was going a little too preschool and didn't even try.  If I was a rich woman, I would have bought this vector, not sure what to do with it, I guess I'd buy Photoshop like a real blogger and then I could whip up some invitations in no time at all.  But I could do neither and really, I'd want to change colors (where's the aqua?) and not have the linoleum floor background, I should have played around with hearts more but I got in a hurry and had to knock it out.




I believe, unless our legs are being pulled, that this is an actual invitation to an Oscar party at Studio 54 back in the day.  I initially had this idea before even seeing this of taking the 54 logo and using our house numbers but then I saw the actual logo and realized that would be impossible and by making something up no one would get it.  Drats.

So I came up with mine and then decided I'd have them printed and I got them done for super cheap like $14 for 25 invites but because my design was so lame they look a little weird, a little overworked for something so banal.  I wonder if Truman and Andy were ever like, why did we make our invites so simple, where's the sparkle, where's the wow?

Mine came with simple white envelopes (not my favorite) and I used gold glitter heart stickers from etsy.com to secure the back.  So basically my husband was handing out what looked like Valentines to all his friends last week.  Ah, next time, next time it will be perfect!

.......

I've been working on the menu.  I'm fortunate to be able to pull from a variety of sources: glamorous looking basic Oscar foods, food from the seventies, and of course, Italian-American foods.  I wanted to focus on 70s appetizers but it wasn't the greatest era for that sort of thing (lots of jello from what I found).

I always do chocolate covered tuxedo strawberries, this year my idea is to have some of them in blue tuxedos using light blue candy coating.

Then I wanted to do something with Oreos.  Oreos feel very 70s to me because that's when I was a kid and Oreos were my favorite cookie.  So I'm making Oreo truffles.

A veggie platter is a normal thing for us to serve but I'm making sure to use Sour Cream and Onion dip and not Ranch.  I don't remember Ranch when I was a kid.

I saw lots of shrimp cocktails so even though we serve shrimp at most of our parties, it fits my decade.

Then for the main dishes I think I'm going with lasagna rolls.  And I've always wanted to do the little caprese salad appetizers.  I'm pretty sure no one did the caprese salad appetizers so famous on Pinterest now but it is a nod to all the ridiculous skewered things from the 70s (pineapple and cheddar cheese on a toothpick, anyone?).



Caprese Salad, Lasagna Roll-Ups, Tuxedo Strawberries, Oreo Truffles

.....

Clothing for a plus size woman is always an issue so I started early.  I ended up going with this dress from Macy's (it's sold out now so I won't bother linking).


It looks way better on the model than on me.  I was considering returning it if I found something else but then decided it would be fine.  Last year I wore a very short dress and was very uncomfortable sitting down so this year I'll be wearing a polyester nightgown with sequins, it'll be fine.  I haven't been able to have my hair colored in a while but the upside is my hair has gotten pretty long and I'm going to attempt to pile it on top of my head like Jennifer Lawrence (see movie poster above).  For Brian, I was so close to buying him a suit from the 70s off ebay, so close.  It would have been great.  Then I was going to buy him a 70s bow tie (they are bigger) but then I was afraid we couldn't tie it and I didn't want a clip on.  He has a 3 piece blue suit.  I think he'll wear the pants and vest with a shirt and we'll try to find him a tie from the department store that looks decidedly 70s.  I'm also thinking ascot but we'll see.

(This is going to be a disaster on Feedly, I'm so sorry guys, my photos overlap there for reasons I don't understand).

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Da-Da Da-Da Da-Duuuunnnnn

We found out yesterday that we are officially licensed to be foster parents.  It sounds really exciting and it is but it still means more waiting.

There's a lot of waiting in this process.

I also got on the list for middle of the night calls.  Which will be interesting considering we don't have a car seat yet.  But I don't want to lose any options, ya know.

We could still be waiting for months.  Or we could get a call tonight.  It's really weird.  I've been feeling a little down because of all the babies being born, I've been holding a lot of babies lately, and the wait feels excruciating but then finally something else happened, we have our license.  It can really happen now.

So more waiting.

We also found out our social worker who has been with us this whole process including teaching our classes, has been promoted.  We will get an interim social worker until we get a new permanent one.  This makes me a little sad because I felt like our social worker really knew us and if the right kid came along he'd be all, "Da-da-da-da-dun, I know where that baby shall go."  I'm sure I'm over thinking it but that's what it feels like.  Plus, he was just awesome and made me feel at ease so I'll miss him.

Anyway, I wanted to let you guys know that.  It's not the biggest of news but it's news.


Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Exterior House Spucing Ideas

As you know we recently had our house painted with much joy and dismay as you can possibly fit together.  But to me, it looks a little blaa, like it's missing something.




I've been thinking about simple ways to try to give it some more contrast and here's what I've come up with:




You can click on the photos to make them larger.  From other houses that I've seen that use a lighter less contrasting color, what seems to work best is to use an additional high contrast color.  This usually means they paint their door black and put up black shutters and it looks great.  Look at this house:




Without all the black I feel like this house would look pretty washed out.   So my trick is how to add more black.  I've always loved the look of white railing with black on the top.  We had that in the old house and it was really beautiful.  I wonder if it would look as good on the front porch.  Also my mom pointed out to paint the side of the stairs, excellent idea and the wood piece just below the porch above where the brick starts.  Then of course a little weight is needed on the left side of the house so I really want a custom window box there (unless I can find one the right measurements that span both windows completely).  Easy to maintain flowers like gerber daisies (cough!) and roses seal the deal.

What do you think? It's the black board at the bottom of the porch that makes me nervous but it's just paint, I can do it myself and and fix it if I need to.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Beautiful Artwork

It's amazing to me how art really brightens up the house and shares our personality with our friends and family.  I am constantly on the lookout for new art.  When you use art prints a lot of the time it's very affordable to switch out pieces you might be bored with or want to change as your tastes change. 

I really like the selection of art prints from Minted.com.  I also like how you can choose the size print you want and often even the colors used in the print.  You can also order the print framed, which, take it from me, is a win-win.  Sometimes prints are very difficult to frame.

Below are a couple of my favorite prints from Minted:


Painted Ferns is probably my favorite print anywhere right now.  I remember seeing this a few months back when I was decorate art for the nursery and somehow I must have lost it in the shuffle when I was choosing so many pieces of art work.  I just think it's so simple and I love the look of water color.  The green is so calming.

Another thing Minted does is show you how large all the different sizes are you can choose by having a person hold the various sizes.  That way you get a better idea of what size art work you are buying.  They also show the piece in a gallery setting with other art prints from Minted to make it easier to build your gallery wall.  Making a gallery wall of art is harder than it sounds so this is a good option if you need it.

I also love Urchins.


I think this print would look so cute in a bathroom.  One of the great things about his print is you can change the color of the urchins.  I also like the mustard yellow-y color too.


My final selection to share with you is Sleepy Kitty.  This is the just the kind of print that's perfect as part of an art gallery.  It's so simple and sweet.  I love it.  Our cat Grayson actually lays like this, we call it "the sprawl" so it's extra special to us.




In my quest for Oscar party ideas I was very fortunate to come across the beautiful blog Julep by Minted.com.  My Oscar theme this year is American Hustle so I'm on the lookout for shiny glittery things to decorate around the house.  Julep had some great ideas that would work for me.

I really like the DIY disco ball stirrer idea.  I really want to incorporate some disco balls into our party and this is a really cute simple way to do so. 


They are so adorable.  I was thinking we could use the stirrers for skewers for fruit kabobs, jazz them up a little bit.


Wouldn't they be cute with little disco balls on the ends?

**I was compensated by Minted.com to share this post with you but all opinions are my own. This is my first sponsored post and I am so excited to participate with such a beautiful site as Minted.com and Minted.com/julep**