I was picking up a few weekend supplies (ie: cheese plate rations) at Trader Joe’s this evening and made a detour down the dessert aisle only to find a frozen sampler of TJ’s macarons. I felt it was my duty to share this very important information with my readers, as a public service announcement. I will warn you, they’re not as light and fluffy as homemade macarons (which I know from my cooking class experience!) — but at just $4 for a dozen, they are totally worth it. I have completely demolished one full row already, cassis and salted caramel were my favorites, just in case you were wondering. 

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The summer is halfway over and I have a major item to tackle on my “Kate’s Summer of Fun” bucket list (why yes, I have come up with a theme name for this summer). That item? See an outdoor movie and throw a fabulous picnic while I’m at it. Luckily my neighborhood has a whole movies-in-the-park series this year, I just need to get myself into gear and make it to one. I clipped this great cheese pairings piece from a recent Martha Stewart magazine to use as inspiration for some picnic treats — don’t you just want to try them all?

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Now that our wedding is over, I’m back in the bridesmaid saddle and helped host a shower for one of my best girlfriends this weekend. It’s so fun when your fellow bridesmaids love party planning, this was an all-star team of girls working to put on this shin-dig. The shower had a Palm Beach-inspired theme with bright pinks and greens, lots of friendly lawn flamingos, and pom-poms galore. My favorite detail? The flamingo cocktail stirrers!
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Last week I had one of my girlfriends over for dinner after work, and when strolling the aisles at the grocery store for some post-dinner dessert inspiration I decided, it’s summer, we need an ice cream sundae bar. In my opinion, a great sundae is really all about keeping it simple and letting the ice cream take center stage. We had delicious flavors (hello, sea salt caramel) with classic toppings: sprinkles and caramel sauce — and it was delicious. Note to self: have more ice cream parties.  Ice Cream 1Ice Cream 3Ice Cream 2

Note: Some of the products featured in this post were provided by Wayfair, all opinions are my own. 

It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that Easter is this weekend, mainly because I’m still wearing my winter coat to work everyday and there’s snow that has yet to melt on the sidewalks. So, to get me in the spirit, I took to browsing some spring-inspired entertaining accessories that are perfect for hosting a festive celebration! Gingham napkins and striped straws in pastel-hues are a sure-fire way to make it at least look like spring.

Easter BrunchClockwise from top left: Candles, Bunny knives, Soap eggs, Gingham napkins, Paper strawsCeramic egg crate

You know how brides start to get nervous and crazy as their wedding gets closer from all of the stress? See, I’m pretty relaxed about the wedding, but what I am stressed about is that with the big day just 3 months away, that’s only a few more issues of my favorite bridal magazines showing up in my mailbox! I might not be able to give up my Martha Stewart Weddings after the vows are said and done — especially after this gorgeous race-track inspired wedding in the most recent issue. Black and white stripes are playing a big part in our wedding decor, so these ideas are getting bookmarked! See the rest of the wedding here.

Martha Stewart Weddings Race Track

It normally takes about 3 days to fully recover from New Year’s Eve, right? I’m working on it — it’s so hard to get back into ‘reality’ mode after a long holiday! Which is why I’m a little late sharing some pictures of our annual New Year’s Eve bash. Having a few extra days off after Christmas gave me the time to craft some fun decorations and think up some tasty dishes and cocktails. It was a great way to kick off 2013, and I hope it sets the tone for many more fabulous parties to come this  year (like, ahem, a pretty exciting wedding coming up in May). How did you celebrate the New Year?

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A poor selection of flowers at my local Trader Joes this week inspired me to whip up a sparkly centerpiece for our annual New Year’s Eve party. I hit the Christmas sale section at the craft store and gathered up some tinsel garland and metallic tissue papers. With a hot glue gun in hand I wrapped some tinsel garlands around foam cones to create two tree-like pieces. With the silver and gold mylar tissue paper I layered strips of hand-cut fringe around the third cone. I topped all three with sparkly drink stirrers that I also found in the Christmas clearance bin at Target to finish them off!

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And of course I couldn’t pass up all of that discounted tinsel, so I used the extra pieces to outline some cardboard cut-outs of 2013 and strung them up on the wall — it’ll be a perfect backdrop for some festive photo-ops!

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