We’ve still got a few more hours until the official first day of fall, but I’m jumping in head first while planning for a little autumnal get together this weekend! I had so much fun with my potluck dip party earlier in the year, that I decided to revive the idea and invite a few friends over for a pumpkin-spice themed potluck. Everyone is bringing pumpkin or apple themed recipes and I’m serving up some treats of my own, along with warm apple cider and pumpkin spice coffee from my pretty new white Keurig Brewer! For my party preparations I got a chance to visit the new World Market near us and stocked up on the prettiest palette of fall tabletop decor, and some classic white serve ware pieces. I’m planning on coupling these pieces with lots of pretty white pumpkins for a soft, serene fall tablescape. Can’t wait to share more after the party! pumpkin-spice-party_edited-1

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I’m having a little bit of trouble coming to grips with the fact that summer is coming to a close this week, I’m not quite ready for the warm weather, and beach days, and patio cocktails (and mocktails!) to end. This weekend I had a girl’s night with some my girlfriends and we enjoyed the fading summer with some al fresco dining and porch swinging and all around warm-weather merriment. In preparation for our hang out I set up a make-your-own style margarita bar with all of the essentials, and thought I’d share a few of my tips for setting up a margarita bar of your own. Once you have the tools, the garnishes, and ingredients in place, it’s super fun to let your guests mix up their own cocktail creations.Margarita Bar 1 read more

Last weekend was a multi-day celebration of my husband’s birthday; I am a firm believer in the “birthday week” over just one night of festivities. We planned to kick off the weekend with friends heading out to a concert (Huey Lewis and the News played, and yes they were awesome). To me, one of the best parts of outdoor summer concerts is the tailgating before the show. We were heading to the event with friends, and we own a tiny car that isn’t ideal for this type of pre-concert picnicking. Luckily Enterprise CarShare reached out me about trying their car-sharing program in Boston and it was the perfect opportunity to borrow an SUV that would hold our friends and concert tailgating spread!IMG_4313 read more

We are officially in that stretch of summer where you have to escape to the porch to keep cool! A few steamy days in a row and our house has warmed up enough that we were lying in front of fans while watching TV last night. In this day of Netflix and Tivo apps, I realized that it’s pretty easy for me to grab my laptop and enjoy a relaxing night on the porch watching an old flick while enjoying the cool evening breezes. Of course I like to take any good idea and turn it into a great one with a little bit of creativity and some themed snacks for a DIY outdoor movie night! IMG_4014 read more

Please note: This post was created in paid partnership with Time Inc. and Chinet.

A few weeks back I got the chance to work with MyRecipes.com and Chinet to film a little video sharing some of my favorite tips for throwing festive summer BBQs — using everyday items like bandanas and mason jars and Chinet products. We tackled everything from the table decor (a DIY no-sew table runner!) to setting up your BBQ buffet (with a festive plate weight and bandana napkins) to creating a no-bake, red white and blue dessert perfect for the Fourth of July (because who wants to turn on the oven on a hot summer day?). Check out the full video below, and read more summer BBQ tips on myrecipes.com.

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I am long overdue on posting a few highlights from a baby shower I threw last month — so overdue in fact, my guest-of-honor has had her baby girl since the party already! There’s a due-date pun in there somewhere, but let’s get to the decorations and the menu already. It was a brunch, so we set up a champagne bar with several different kinds of homemade simple syrups to mix-up self-serve cocktails. I added a few bottles of sparkling water too so mocktails could be made with the same flavors. There were tons of baked breakfast treats, and one of my favorite parts of the menu was mini yogurt, berry and granola parfaits that I chilled in tiny mason jars — they flew off the table! For decorations I went with a palette of pool blue, mint and peach for paper fans and garlands — all fresh, bright pastels that complimented the Liberty print paper goods I found for the table and pieces from my vintage jadeite collection. I couldn’t host the shower without a few DIY elements, and crafted up some mini “party-animals” out of plastic kids toys, gold spray paint, and party hats made from paper and pom-poms. I used them to decorate cupcakes and nestle in between the food and bar tables — the perfect little details for a festive baby shower! Colleens Baby Shower

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I just sent out on email to some friends inviting them to our first summer BBQ at our house. We moved in right at the end of Fall, so we’re experiencing summer with fresh eyes now that we have a yard and porch! I’ll be keeping the BBQ casual, but it’s just the start of summer parties and I have a tons of inspiration stored up for backyard soirees and warm-weather party themes. I’ve been gathering a few of my favorite outdoor party essentials to prepare: turkish towels for chilly nights, a brand new cooler filled to the brim with iced beverages, tons of lawn games, and festive napkins, plates and barware! Check out a few more of my ideas for your summer festivities below! Summer Party Supplies read more

I really can’t believe Memorial Day is in just two short weeks, spring sort of zoomed by in the blink of an eye and summer will be here before we know it. I’ve got some summer activities on my mind this week because I partnered with Better Homes and Gardens to create a series of summer recipe cards for their BHG Summer Guide! The recipe cards are available to the winners of their summer party box, featuring lots of fun items for summer entertaining (enter for a chance to win!).DSC_0097 read more

In celebration of their “Kiss Clutter Goodbye” events this spring, The Container Store sent me some of the Laundress’ laundry and cleaning products to try (I don’t even want to open the packages they’re so pretty!!). Besides being adorned with an oh-so-cute black and white label, they’re a friendly reminder to get my spring-cleaning on, and the perfect place to start my new entertaining series: Modern Hostess! Hosting guests, throwing parties and all things soiree-related are what makes me happy, so over the next few months I’m going to start sharing a bit more about how I prep for parties, my favorite party tools and serving pieces, a fool-proof party planning checklist, and other entertaining tips. To start, I’m going to share a little bit about my pre-party cleaning routine.Laundress 32 read more

I haven’t quite celebrated St Patrick’s Day the same way since college – Lucky Charm cupcakes are a long way from my days of kegs and eggs and shamrock stickers on my cheeks. But one thing hasn’t changed, my penchant for playing with my food! Making these ‘lucky’ rainbow St Patrick’s Day cupcakes was a treat for my color-coordination obsessed tendencies, it felt like a nice therapy session sorting through the marshmallows and dropping them into like-colored piles.LuckyCharmCupcake read more